Following up on my post yesterday, the question was asked "what is publication?" My answer was distribution to the public - for example by making your music available on the Internet - constitutes publication. I also explained that it might not be a distribution - for example if you are only making your music available to a certain group of people, and not the general public. However, it is best to assume that publication has occurred if you are making your music available on the Internet, and/or selling (or giving away) a few CDs at public performances. When that happens, you should be thinking that the "clock is ticking" on your 3 month safe harbor to get a copyright application filed.
Here's what the statute (17 USC § 101) says about publication:
“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.
Comments welcome. Have a great day!