Copyrights and types

I am trying to establish the kinds of materials defined as permitted for copyright, and some associated protections. For example, copyright circular 1 lists some types on the first page. Among them: Literary works, and sound recordings, which are two "broad" types of works outlined in US copyright law (Title 17 reproduced in Circular 92). The class Literary works further is divided down into several sub-types, one of which is software. My understanding of "literary" in this context is that one reads the text. So, I have some questions about these designated resource types.

  1. Is there a basis for understanding digital sound or motion pictures as software bundles? Or for copyright purposes are software and motion pictures very distinct classes of "things"?

My understanding is that the rights afforded to copyright holders are limited by type. For example, copyright allows the holder of an audio copyrighted resource to regulate the transmission via a digital audio transmission. Circular 1 states it as: "Perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission if the work is a sound recording".

  1. Do I rightly conclude then that this protection for audio is "type specific"? It cannot apply to, for example, sculptures, or motion pictures.

My understanding is that these types have slight variations to the protections afforded to them. For example, my understanding is that a motion picture is only copyright-able in a fixed format (congruent with other "types"). However, my understanding is that the copyright term only starts once it is published... published is a hard term to find a definition for. Circular 45 says the following:

"Publication of a motion picture takes place when one or more copies are distributed to the public by sale, rental, lease, or lending or when an offering is made to distribute copies to a group (wholesalers, retailers, broadcasters, motion picture distributors, and the like) for purposes of further distribution or public performance. Offering to distribute a copy of a motion picture for exhibition during a film festival may be considered publication of that work. For an offering to constitute publication, copies must be made and be ready for distribution. The performance itself of a motion picture (for example, showing it in a theater, on television, or in a school room) does not constitute publication."

  1. Do Creative Commons licenses apply to video material I host on my own website? In order for Creative Commons licenses to be enforceable or valid the copyright must be valid. If the copyright term only starts at publication, and publication requires sale, rental, lease, or lending, where in that process is free (libre) distribution?

This is of some interest to me as I am looking at comparing protections in different national copyright frameworks for ethnographic resources produced in scholarly contexts.