To publish is to make content available to the general public. While specific use of the term may vary among countries, it is usually applied to text, images, or other audio-visual content, including paper (newspapers, magazines, catalogs, etc.). The word publication means the act of publishing, and also refers to any printed copies.
Generally, the right to publish a work is an exclusive right of 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. Exceptions and limitations are written into copyright law, however; for example, the exclusive rights of the copyright owner eventually expire, and even when in force, they don’t extend to publications covered by fair use or certain types of uses by libraries and educational institutions.
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