n. A work that expresses some thought in language, signs, or symbols and that is reproduced for distribution. v. The act of publishing such a work.


Although traditionally associated with books and magazines, publication includes motion pictures, websites, CD-ROMs, videotapes, sound recordings, and other document formats. Publication connotes a work that is widely distributed, especially by a commercial publisher. However, it also includes works of limited distribution, such as those issued by a vanity press. Similarly, a single copy of a dissertation deposited as a public record in a library may be considered published because it is available (distributed) to the public. Works of limited distribution that have the physical characteristic of a publications, such as a binding and title page, are described as quasi-publications or near-print documents. The rise of on-demand printing using sophisticated desktop publishing software and high-quality printers is blurring the distinction between quasi-publications and publications. Publication has a preservation function by increasing the chances that at least one copy will be preserved if other copies are damaged or destroyed.


U.S. Code, 17 USC 101LawThe distribution of copies or phonorecords 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 phonorecords 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.