1905.2 The Means of Distribution
As discussed in Section 1902, publication occurs when copies or phonorecords are distributed to the public by means of a sale or other transfer of ownership, such as giving copies away. Likewise, publication occurs when copies or phonorecords are distributed by means of rental, lease, or lending (i.e., where the copies or phonorecords change hands, but there is no change in the ownership of those copies or phonorecords).
Distributing copies or phonorecords by any other means does not constitute publication. In particular, the legislative history states that “any form or dissemination in which a material object does not change hands… is not a publication no matter how many people are exposed to the work.” H.R. REP. NO. 94-1476, at 138 (1976), reprinted in 1976 U.S.C.C.A.N. at 5754.