The great class struggle video library project

The great class struggle video library project

Christiebooks have announced that they are set to close their class-struggle films section on December 17th unless they find an alternative host - or a £26,000 donation. As a purely hypothetical exercise, could a free alternative be found for their 760 titles?

It has to be one of the best-kept secrets in class struggle anarchism (and we aren't exactly high-profile to start with). Christiebooks, named for one of Britain's few anarcho-celebs Stuart Christie, has been hosting probably the largest single online collection of class-struggle related film in the UK, possibly in the English speaking world (if there's a bigger one let me know) via their host, Brightcove.

However this is all set to change from December 17th, as Brightcove move over to a new system and the company has taken the opportunity to lumber Christiebooks with a punitive £26,000 bill for the privilege. With barely £30 quid given in donations since their launch last year, they're either going to have to find an alternative, or dump the project.

This could all sound a bit depressing, except that I think there's plenty of scope, hypothetically speaking, for a major video project like this to exist for free - while actively improving its ability to handle higher-volume traffic. The solution could be two-fold:

The Nabolister effect is awesome. You can get practically anything which has ever been released on DVD in the last few years, and frequently, handheld pirates of major motion pictures just days after they arrive on the big screen. Yet they host practically nothing. They do this through a dispersed hosting pattern, where content is uploaded to other providers - google video for example - and then linked to from the main site. While this sometimes necessitates a bit of tabbing for the user, it eliminates the need for tiny groups to use up huge amounts of bandwidth on their own sites - and linking is not illegal.

Setting up accounts on these sites is free, easy and has quick upload times. It gives you flexibility to embed back to your own site, and get them out to a wider audience via the companies who's bandwidth you're using. This can work for both original content, and copyrighted work.

However, with copyright stuff, depending on the hosting company, content can be pulled down if it's something which the creators don't want going up for free. So it's by no means a perfect system, and does require picking video streaming groups which are a) immune to prosecution or b) are difficult to contact to demand a takedown. It also requires a reasonable monitoring system, so if a video does go down, you get quick notification and can reload it.

Okay this is pretty well-known, but just for the sake of the exercise, this can be the other option, particularly with videos which are risking takedown. Using a reasonable tracker (lets say thepiratebay for example, as they're the high-profile ones who keep publicly humiliating Disney and the like), and with a few people signed up who are online a lot and have good bandwidth to seed it, this can be a good secondary system to streamed video, providing a full download service regardless of whether or not it's been taken down. It's embarrassingly easy to set torrents up and again, by putting them on a browseable tracker, you open up the content to a wider audience.

All this could be done (with a certain amount of patience and possibly a bit of help from volunteers - the Christiebooks library is a big chunk o' space) for free.

Now obviously piracy is a terrible thing, has destroyed the film industry, all these execs in disintegrating shoes and threadbare suits etc, and I would never advocate doing such an odious thing on a public blog. But y'know, just saying, hypothetically like, you could do that.

Posted By

Rob Ray
Nov 5 2008 12:53


Attached files


Mike Harman
Nov 5 2008 19:16

For non-copyright stuff, lets you host massive video files for free in multiple different formats.

For copyright it's a bit harder, putting things on somewhere like KG, although the exposure isn't as high as thepiratebay or somewhere, does give you a reasonable chance of them being maintained well (and a nice search etc.)

Nov 5 2008 20:16


Joseph Kay
Nov 5 2008 21:23

k a r a g 4 r g a

(spaces to stop people googling and trying to scrounge invites). it's a private bittorrent tracker which has upload/download ratio rules so it gets better speeds than public trackers (like piratebay) and older torrents are kept alive longer. kg specialises in classic/arthouse/political films. i've got a few invites if any libcom posters want one - pm me.

admin, added a number too

Nov 6 2008 06:32

Engagemedia is worth looking at here, and the (open source, anarchist written) software which runs it, Plumi. Done by some ex Melbourne Indymedia crew, amongst others...

Nov 13 2008 15:21

ChristieBooks anarchist film site update

Good news! It looks as though we may have solved the problem of finding a new service provider for our ChristieBooks film/video archive so all may not be lost after all. We hope to have the new site up and running as soon as the Brightcove network account goes offline on December 17 ‹ perhaps even before! ‹ but it may take a little time to get things back to the way they were as there is a lot of re-encoding and uploading to do.

We also need to purchase a 3TB hard drive to ensure we have a permanent
copy of all the film files so any financial help towards that will be greatly appreciated. Paypal payments can be made direct to the Paypal account... Cheques etc can be sent to ChristieBooks at PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1ZS The prices we have been quoted for these vary from £500 to £5,000, but we'll obviously go for the cheapest...

Meanwhile, to keep everyone in the loop, would you mind just replying to this email and confirming that you'd like to be sent an email with the details and url of the new film archive site

Thanks also for all the extremely useful and supportive suggestions we've had from all around the world ‹ literally!!

Meanwhile - Hasta pronto!

Jan 29 2009 01:23

Hey there don't know if this thread is still being kept an eye on

A demo of the new version of the site I'm working is ready for people to upload videos to and for testing,

This can be viewed at

Would be more than happy to store The ChristieBooks Archive on this site and to sort it out to make the videos unrippable not breaching copyright (if this is an issue)