Simple English definitions for legal terms
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A publication is the act of making something known to the public. This can be done to share knowledge or give notice. In copyright law, publication has a specific meaning. According to 17 U.S.C. §101, publication is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership. This means that when a work is made available to the public, it is considered published.
These examples illustrate how publication involves making something available to the public. When a newspaper article is published, it is printed and distributed to readers. When a book is published, it is printed and made available for purchase. When a scientific study is published, it is printed in a journal and made available to other researchers to read and cite.