The Digital Media Project



Philip Merrill


TRU #79 contracting for middle-men to publish





Philip Merrill

Affiliation/additional information:

Active Contributor, Pasadena, California

Date submitted:







Name of TRU

TRU contracting for middle-men to publish


Summary description of TRU

Authors and other creators of media periodically need the distribution services provided by Middle-men who can arrange for the creator's media to be published.


Use records of TRU

The fact of publication is contained in TRU of first publication/disclosure, but in this case publishing can have many broader or more vague meanings. Publication has a definite time and also a definite place, although there can be several of both, for example in France on one day and then in the United States 30 days later.


Nature of TRU

This is one of a group of TRUs that also includes:

Publication has often had a glamorous appeal as far as authorship implying a firm ownership of related intellectual property rights. The ideals of the great composer or great painter are intrinsically tied up with this sense of the great author whose books sell millions of copies (e.g., Cervantes).

A more cold-blooded view of what publication really means in the future as a distinct thing from other DM would be that e-book promoters would probably use the word "publish" in their advertising copy because it sounds book-ish.

However, see Possible Digital Support, below, regarding legal importance of establishing day and country of publication.

Because "publish" implies "author", the law regarding this tends to treat "literary or artistic works". There is a sense in which performances are not published, meaning that "published" is a word that very much suggests the printed word if not, more formally, books themselves.


Benefits of TRU

Authors (and/or other creators) and middle-men benefit most directly, but End-Users would never know of many media they might like to consume were it not for this TRU and the diligent efforts of middle-men.


Possible digital support

It must be possible for authors to publish through middle-men on a certain day in a certain country, because these are points of "attachment" for treaty law (e.g., Berne). If one imagines an essentially simultaneous global webcast as publication, as far as national treatment it is important to be able to document the sequence of where and when a work was published.



none at this time