Protect your intellectual properties

Shea Stanfield

Kaylan C. Kankanala wrote in “Fun IP,” “The right to be attributed as an author of a work is not merely a copyright, it is every author’s basic human right.”

Local attorney, author and advocate, Maria Crimi Speth, has more than 30 years of experience helping artists and authors protect their intellectual property. In her book, “Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors,”she guides the reader through the common, costly legal mistakes others have experienced in attempting to protect their work, and provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand description of the laws that affect writers and their works. Speth’s experience has also reached into the realm of photographers, artists, musicians and technology over the years. Her book is a must read for anyone seeking to protect their creative rights.

Speth grew up in Long Island, N.Y., with a mother who was her biggest champion. Speth was encouraged to be independent and to excel in reading and writing, which would serve her well later in life. Speth’s father passed away when she was 10, leaving her mother to raise Speth and her brother as a single parent. Regardless of the challenges this presented, her mother instilled in her children the attitude that anything they wanted to do was possible.

Hofstra University was Speth’s choice for earning her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in English.  She went on to earn a law degree from Hofstra Law School, and in 1988 became a practicing attorney. She found her specialty in intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and patents) and has spent countless hours teaching authors the legal aspects of writing and publishing articles, blogs and books. Eventually she decided to write a book of her own.

Speth and her husband, Ray, decided to relocate to Arizona when their son was six months old.  A huge bonus, beyond the drier, warmer climate, was that Speth’s brother, Steven, and his family lived in the valley. Speth became a member of the law firm Jaburg Wilk in 2003, where she represents individuals and businesses in protecting their intellectual property. Jaburg Wilk is a full-service business law firm where Speth’s team focuses their practice on intellectual property infringement litigation, trademark registrations, copyright registrations, contract review/publishing agreements, pre-publication review of books, website terms of use and privacy policies.

According to Speth, “Writing about legal issues is the very best way to help authors to understand their legal rights and obligations. I love to write, and authors generally love to read so it is a perfect medium for educating authors.” 

Speth’s plan is to turn her book, “Protect Your Writing”into a series, which will include books about protecting photographs, art, music, code, plays and architectural designs.

The best thing about Speth’s writing style is she can turn complex legal writing into succinct, understandable terms, so even the most creative minds in our community can easily grasp and apply the concepts.

Speth can be contacted at mcs@jaburgwilk.com, or by telephone at (602) 248-1089.  She is available for speaking, teaching and legal representation. “Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors”is available for purchase on Amazon.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield on flowingquill@yahoo.com.