AskDefine | Define publication

Dictionary Definition



1 a copy of a printed work offered for distribution
2 the act of issuing printed materials [syn: issue]
3 the business of publishing [syn: publishing]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The act of publishing printed or other matter
  2. An issue of printed or other matter, offered for sale or distribution
  3. The communication of information to the general public etc.


act of publishing
  • Japanese: 出版 (しゅっぱん, shuppan), 刊行 (かんこう, kankō), 発行 (はっこう, hakkō)
an issue of printed or other matter
  • Chinese: 出版物 (chū-bǎn-wù)
  • Japanese: 出版物 (しゅっぱんぶつ, shuppanbutsu), 刊行物 (かんこうぶつ, kankōbutsu)
communication of information
  • Japanese: 公表 (こうひょう, kōhyō), 発表 (はっぴょう, happyō)
1: δημοσίευση [ðˈsi.e̞] f, δημοσίευμα [ðˈsi.e̞] n
2: δημοσίευμα [ðˈsi.e̞] n, έντυπο [ˈe̞.(n)di.po̞] n
3: γνωστοποίηση [ɣno̞.sto̞.ˈ] f, δημοσιοποίηση [ð̞.si.o̞.ˈ] f, κοινοποίηση [̞.ˈ] f

Extensive Definition

To publish is to make content publicly known. The term is most frequently applied to the distribution of text or images on paper, or to the placing of content on a website.
The word publication means the act of publishing, and it also means any writing of which copies are published, and any website. Among publications are books, and periodicals, the latter including magazines, scholarly journals, and newspapers.
Computers and the internet have changed the face of publishing, lowering the cost, and allowing more people to publish, through both desktop publishing and internet publishing.

Specific publications

Some publications have to be characterized in a more specific sense and contexts. Examples:

Web publishing

To publish on the Web. See website, Web template systems, Blog, etc.

Legal definition


"Publication" is a technical term in legal contexts and especially important in copyright legislation. An author of a work generally in 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 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.
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.''
17 USC 101
Furthermore, the right to publish a work is an exclusive right of the copyright owner (17 USC 106), and violating this right (e.g. by disseminating copies of the work without the copyright owner's consent) is a copyright infringement (17 USC 501(a)), and the copyright owner can demand (by suing in court) that e.g. copies distributed against his will be confiscated and destroyed (17 USC 502, 17 USC 503).
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 3(3), 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.

Official publication

In some countries, the publication in the official journal is a condition for the law to come into effect and it is released in the public domain.
Exampless of official publications:


In Biological classification (Taxonomy), the publication of the description of a taxon has to comply with some rules.
  • It must be published in Latin.
  • It must be published on paper.
  • The publication must be generally available.
  • The date of publication is the date the published material became generally available.


External links

publication in German: Publikation
publication in Esperanto: Eldono
publication in French: Publication
publication in Hungarian: Publikáció
publication in Dutch: Publicatie
publication in Russian: Публикация
publication in Swedish: Publikation
publication in Chinese: 出版物

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Christophany, Satanophany, account, acquaintance, advertisement, advertising, airing, albertype, angelophany, announcement, annual, appearance, attenuation, avatar, best seller, bimonthly, biweekly, blue book, book, book printing, booklet, bound book, briefing, broadcast, broadcasting, broadside, brochure, bulletin, chromotypography, chromotypy, chromoxylography, circumfusion, classic, collotype, color printing, coloring book, communication, communique, conveyance, daily, data, datum, declaration, definitive work, diffraction, diffusion, dilution, directory, disclosure, dispatch, dispensation, dispersal, dispersion, dissemination, dissipation, distribution, divergence, electronography, electrostatic printing, embodiment, enlightenment, epiphany, evaporation, evidence, evincement, expansion, expression, facts, factual information, familiarization, flier, flyer, folio, fortnightly, fragmentation, gen, general information, giving, graphic arts, gravure, great work, guidebook, halftone engraving, hand-out, handbill, handout, hard information, hardback, hebdomadal, history of printing, impartation, imparting, impartment, incarnation, incidental information, indication, info, information, instruction, intelligence, issuance, job printing, journal, juvenile, juvenile book, knowledge, leaflet, letterpress, letterpress photoengraving, light, limp-cover book, line engraving, lithography, lithogravure, lithophotogravure, magazine, magnum opus, manifestation, materialization, mention, message, mimeograph, monthly, newsletter, newspaper, nonbook, notebook, notice, notification, novel, offset, offset lithography, onset, opus, opuscule, opusculum, palaeotypography, pamphlet, paper, paperback, peppering, periodical, photo-offset, photochemical process, photoengraving, photogelatin process, photographic reproduction, photography, photolithography, phototypography, phototypy, photozincography, picture book, planographic printing, planography, playbook, pneumatophany, pocket book, prayer book, presentation, printing, printmaking, proclamation, production, promotional material, promulgation, pronouncement, pronunciamento, proof, propagation, psalmbook, psalter, publicity, publicizing, publishing, putting out, quarterly, radiation, release, relief printing, report, reporting, revelation, rotary photogravure, rotogravure, scattering, scatterment, serial, sharing, sheetwork, shotgun pattern, sidelight, sketchbook, soft-cover, songbook, sowing, spattering, splay, spread, spreading, sprinkling, standard work, statement, stencil, storybook, strewing, tabloid, telling, the dope, the goods, the know, the scoop, theophany, three-color printing, title, tome, trade book, transfer, transference, transmission, transmittal, two-color printing, typography, typolithography, volatilization, volume, weekly, white book, white paper, wood-block printing, word, work, writing, xerography, xeroprinting, xylotypography, zincography
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