How does copyright or IP come into existence?
Generally speaking, any form of commonly-recognised publishing results in an author having author rights to copyright automatically, from the moment of publication. But different nations have different ideas about what author rights are. The Creative Commons Licensing system was created to provide a global system for authors using any medium.
One of our Co-op members, Jos Joaqun Lunazzi , sent this enquiry recently (thanks):
"When an article is submitted to a journal it may take even years for it to be accepted (or not, in some cases). Only if accepted the journal recognises the date in which it was submitted.
Meanwhile, a similar paper could be published or registered by another person. Is it not too inconvenient? How to register immediately?
For some sciences my suggestion is to pre-publish in www.arxiv.org but: does this constitute legal registering? How many journals accept without restrictions this previous publication?"
Personally, I think 'pre-publishing' is an oxymoron -- placing work in an essentially public archive is already an act of publishing.
It can only be pre-publishing in an academic sense, namely, the author is expecting critical comment, and is planning to retract or revise the manuscript if necessary, before releasing a final version that is intended to be the version of record.
For authors who wish to pre-empt claims of prior authorship of an idea or invention, by going public sooner than later, www.arxiv.org may be useful, because it provides a commonly known place to lodge publications without delay, though there are academic and legal risks in not submitting work to a full, independent review process. The author may express their idea badly, and thus not have it well recognised, or may inadvertently plagiarise an idea and not have the problem noticed before going public.
Regarding the acceptance or not of "pre-publishing" by journals... I suspect that most journals have not yet developed a policy regarding the method. Most likely they would regard it as prior publication, and most likely they would reject the article. The question is certainly interesting.
Can others comment on these matters?