What is the S ct s notion of public domain? Does dissemination play the same role I thinK it should? Here s a looK at patent pol icy. Basically, I think the following shows that the Supreme Court envisages that there s a separate policy which says that things once made public should stay public. Now d tie that to reliance & changes of position. The court doesn t think it through very well; they may have power in mind, or vesting, or just precedent. It s unclear. But it s useful for my purposes that the Court opinion suggests that they think dissemination (or at least, dissemination plus disclosure) is relevant to what Kind of legal protection one should have, aside from common-law copyright itself.
Wendy J. Gordon, Notes on Lear v. Adkins and Kewanee: "public domain" and "dissemination" (unknown) (unpublished manuscript).