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MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .

SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .

LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .

BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .

SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .

SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .

M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .

DARREN D. BEYER is an ex-NASA experiment engineer who has worked on every Space Shuttle orbiter but Challenger. In his sci-fi Anghazi Series, Beyer uses his scientific expertise to create a galaxy in which “space bridges” allow interstellar travel based upon the latest in real theoretical physics. Read more. . .

ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .

STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .

GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .

JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .

LISA MERCADO-FERNANDEZ writes literary novels of love, loss, and friendship set in the small coastal towns of New England. I edited Mercado-Fernandez’ debut novel The Shoebox and second novel The Eighth Summer. Read more. . .

JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .

LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .

ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .

ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .

In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

  • By Victoria Mixon

    Section 107 of copyright law, as per the US Government

    Section 107 [of copyright law] contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

    Short translation?

    Self-published (and even traditionally-published) books on “how to write” are not covered under section 107 because they are commercial books.

    In fact, they are commercial nonfiction of the ‘how-to’ genre.

    Traditional publishers know this, which is why they list in their front matter all quotes and the permissions obtained for reprinting those quotes.

    • Books on “how to write” are not ‘criticism,’ because they do not fall within the narrowly-defined field of professional critical essays written by professional critics, which are typically published in commercial or peer-reviewed periodicals.

    • They are not ‘comment‘ because the bulk of a book on “how to write” is commercial ‘how-to’ genre rather than professional commentary by professional critics upon texts. Most book reviews are covered under this caveat, but not entire books on “how to write.”

    • They are not ‘news reporting‘ because they are not written by professional journalists and published in professional journalistic periodicals.

    • They are not ‘teaching‘ because they are not professional educational texts or educational tracts published in peer-reviewed periodicals within the professional educational field.

    • They are not ‘scholarship‘ because they are not written by scholars of specific subjects published in peer-reviewed periodicals within the professional academic field.

    • They are not ‘research‘ because they are not scientific or theoretical research of specific subjects published in peer-reviewed periodicals within the professional scientific or academic fields.

    You’ll notice the one big failing that self-publishing plagiarizers face: they are not professionals.

    And because they’re not professionals, they don’t understand copyright law. They haven’t researched its legal precedents. They’re not usually either publishing insiders or law students. Sometimes they haven’t even read copyright law in its entirety.

    Aw, jeez, that seems like a whole lot of legalese to wade through for someone in an all-fired hurry to run out and make their fortune as a writing guru by quoting people smarter and more experienced than themselves.

    Instead, plagiarizers rely entirely upon their “own reading” of what copyright law they have read, which amateur reading is worth exactly bupkiss in the court of a copyright judge.

    Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair.

    Now, remember that copyright judge mentioned above? Yeah. This is the person who’s going to use these four factors to determine whether or not a particular use is fair. Not the plagiarizer. The judge. That’s because the judge is a professional, does understand copyright law, has researched its precedents, has been to law school, and most certainly has read copyright law in its entirety.

    This means, again, that an amateur reading of these four factors is completely meaningless. Amateurs have absolutely no authority in determining the use and/or abuse of copyright. Only a judge has that authority.

    But we’ll proceed, anyway, just in case a plagiarizer tries to use their amateur reading of copyright law to bamboozle you.

    Don’t be bamboozled, people!

    • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

      This is where the self-published books of plagiarizers on “how to write” immediately lose all traction. Those books are commercial in nature and not nonprofit educational books.

    • The nature of the copyrighted work

      This is where quotes by others on writing fall under the protection of:

      Copyright, [which] protects the particular way authors have expressed themselves.

      Plagiarizers don’t like to read this far down when they read copyright law. But it’s there: your words are explicitly copyrighted under. . .

      Protect[ion for] the particular way authors have expressed themselves.

    • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

      This is where plagiarizing others leads into intensely grey area, because:

      There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.” [Emphasis mine.]

      Has a self-publisher crossed that murky line into plagiarism? If they haven’t asked permission, then—yeah—they almost certainly have.

      This is why copyright law cautions (again, further down than plagiarizers like to read):

      The safest course is to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material.”

    • The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

      And this is the final nail in the coffin of plagiarizers, because If the real author ever wants to put their copyrighted work into a book under their own name, the plagiarizer has put it into their copyrighted published work, making it possible for the real author to wind up in copyright violation by publishing their own copyrighted words.

      This can definitely affect the potential market for, and therefore value of, an author’s copyrighted work.

      So this is where lawsuits for loss of income come into it.

    There’s also:

    The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”


    • review or criticism

      Reviews and professional criticism again, which are generally published in periodicals and can be used only for the very specific purposes outlined.

    • scholarly or technical work

      Academic or scientific reports again, and only for “illustration or clarification of observation,” which reports are published in periodicals.

    • parody

      This actually is a real loophole in copyright law, but it does not cover books on “how to write,” unless the writer honestly considers their book a joke.

    • news report

      Journalism again, which is published in periodicals.

    • reproduction. . .of damaged copy

      Even this is allowed only by a library or other entity solely for the purposes of restoring the original.

    • legislative or judicial proceedings or reports

      i.e. Legal proceedings, with which we can assume the writer of a book on “how to write” is not anxious to become entangled.

    • incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported

      And this one doesn’t even need clarification. Books are not newsreels or broadcasts. And, besides, we can safely assume that a book on “how to write” contains no “incidental” material that just fell in there by accident.

    Finally, there is:

    When it is impracticable to obtain permission, you should consider avoiding the use of copyrighted material.

    And this seems clear enough for even the most self-deluded of plagiarizers.

    It is indeed quite practicable to obtain permission to use most of the work being plagiarized today in books on “how to write.”

    And if it’s not, then—hey!

    Don’t use it.

    Below, for your edification, is the rest of the body of section 107 of copyright law by the US Government:

    One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright law (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law. . .

    The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

    Copyright protects the particular way authors have expressed themselves. It does not extend to any ideas, systems, or factual information conveyed in a work.

    The safest course is to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

    When it is impracticable to obtain permission, you should consider avoiding the use of copyrighted material unless you are confident that the doctrine of fair use would apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine whether a particular use may be considered fair nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.


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