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What Does Publication Mean?

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Question: What Does Publication Mean?
Answer: Publication has a technical meaning in copyright law. According to the statute, “Publication is the 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.” Generally, publication occurs on the date on which copies of the work are first made available to the public.

Does My Work Have To Be Published To Be Protected?

Publication is not necessary for copyright protection.

How Do I Get My Work Published?

Publication occurs at the discretion and initiative of the copyright owner. The Copyright Office has no role in the publication process.

Mandatory Deposit for Works Published in the United States

Works that are published in the United States are subject to mandatory deposit with the Library of Congress.

The year of publication may determine the duration of copyright protection for anonymous and pseudonymous works (when the author's identity is not revealed in the records of the Copyright Office) and for works made for hire.

Deposit Requirements For Published Works

Deposit requirements for registration of published works differ from those for registration of unpublished works.

Copyright Notice For Published Works

When a work is published, it may bear a notice of copyright to identify the year of publication and the name of the copyright owner and to inform the public that the work is protected by copyright. Copies of works published before March 1, 1989, must bear the notice or risk loss of copyright protection.

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