This website – http://catalogue-lumiere.com/ – gathers information (metadata!) regarding the 1428 identified films produced by the Lumière company between 1895-1905.
I compiled this list, based on the most authoritative source: the book “La production cinématographique des Frères Lumière” (ISBN 978-2950904812), edited by Michelle Aubert and Jean-Claude Seguin, and published by the Centre national de la Cinématographie, the Université Lumière-Lyon 2 and the National Film Library in 1996.
The book comes with a CD-ROM, containing a Macromedia Director application that holds the complete metadata for the 1428 films. It is currently out of print, difficult to purchase (you can try on Amazon.fr), and won’t run on current operating systems.
Following my intervention in the frame of FREE?! – A winter nights copyright tale hosted by the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, I have spent some time processing the data extracted from that CD-Rom, and turned it into a WordPress-powered website.
I am also making the data available for researchers as a simple CSV file, hosted on Github.
What’s the copyright of that data? Is it public domain?
The research team that produced this list gathered all the information from the original trade catalogues of the Lumière company (published 1897-1907), from newspapers published in that time period, and from an inventory established by the Cinémathèque française in 1948.
It’s pretty much impossible to establish a clear copyright status for this type of metadata.
Personally, I place all my contributions to this set of metadata under the Creative Commons Zero Public Domain Dedication (CC0), in order to facilitate research.