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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Protect Your Intellectual Property

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 intellectual property advocate Maria Crimi Speth has over thirty 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 attempting to protect their work and "provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand description of the laws that affect writers and their works." Maria's experience has also reached the realm of photographers, artists, musicians, and technology.

Maria's second book, Protect Your Photographs: A Legal Guide for Photographers, points out that your photographs need protection whether you are a professional photographer or use photography as a hobby. In today's world of sharing images across social media platforms, losing control of your photos to an outside source is easy. Just as she points out the costly legal mistakes others have experienced with written material, the same holds for your personal and creative images. Her books are a must-read for anyone seeking to protect their creative rights.

Maria grew up in Long Island, New York, with a mother who was her biggest champion. Maria was encouraged to be independent and to excel in reading and writing, which would serve her well later in life. Maria's father passed away when she was ten, leaving her mother to raise Maria and her brother as a single parent. Regardless of the challenges this presented, her mother taught her children that anything they wanted to do was possible. Maria chose Hofstra University to earn her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in English. She went on to earn a law degree from Hofstra Law School in 1988 and began her career as a practicing attorney. Maria found her niche in intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and patents), which would grow into technology with the internet's growing popularity. She has spent countless hours teaching authors, photographers, artists, musicians, and technology companies the legal aspects of writing, publishing, blogs, and books and protecting images, song lyrics, scripts, and social media material. Eventually, due to her teaching experience, Maria realized there was a need in the market for educating a broader audience; therefore, she decided to write books on the subjects she was teaching.

"Writing about legal issues of intellectual properties is the best way to help authors and other creatives 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."

Maria 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 Maria's brother, Steven, and his family lived in the valley. She became a member of the law firm Jaburg Wilk in 2003, representing individuals and businesses in protecting their intellectual property. Jaburg Wilk is a full-service business law firm where Maria's team focuses its 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 Maria, "Writing about legal issues of intellectual property is the best way to help authors and other creatives 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." With her book Protect Your Photographs, Maria is well on her way to accomplishing her goal for her series, which includes Protect Your Art: A Legal Guide for Artists and Graphic Artists and Protect Your Music: A Legal Guide for Composers and Musicians. Other possibilities may be Protect Your Code and Protect Your Architectural Designs. The best thing about Maria's writing style is she can turn complex legal language into succinct, understandable terms; even the most creative minds in our community can quickly grasp and apply the concepts.


Maria Crimi Speth can be contacted at her email below or by telephone at 602-248-1089. She is available for speaking, teaching, and legal representation. Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors and Protect Your Photographs: A Legal Guide for Photographers are available on Amazon.



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