From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Publication” is a technical term in legal contexts and especially important in copyright legislation. An author of a work generally is the initial owner of the copyright on the work. One of the copyrights granted to the author of a work is the exclusive right to publish the work.
In the United States, publication is defined as: the distribution of copies or phono-records of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phono-records to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.
the act or process of publishing a printed work
any printed work offered for sale or distribution
the act or an instance of making information public
To perform or display a work “publicly” means –
(1) to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or
(2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (1) or to the public, by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.
Furthermore, the right to publish a work is an exclusive right of the copyright owner, and violating this right (e.g. by disseminating copies of the work without the copyright owner’s consent) is a copyright infringement, and the copyright owner can demand (by suing in court) that e.g. copies distributed against his will be confiscated and destroyed.
The definition of “publication” as “distribution of copies to the general public with the consent of the author” is also supported by the Berne Convention, which makes mention of “copies” in article, where “published works” are defined. In the Universal Copyright Convention, “publication” is defined in article VI as “the reproduction in tangible form and the general distribution to the public of copies of a work from which it can be read or otherwise visually perceived.” Many countries around the world follow this definition, although some make some exceptions for particular kinds of works.
In Germany, §6 of the Urheberrechtsgesetz additionally considers works of the visual arts (such as sculptures) “published” if they have been made permanently accessible by the general public (i.e., erecting a sculpture on public grounds is publication in Germany). Australia and the UK (as the U.S.) do not have this exception and generally require the distribution of copies necessary for publication. In the case of sculptures, the copies must be even three-dimensional.