P2P movement VS State ownership: The case of the ERT

E.R.T. is the Greek television and radio broadcasting company that is part of the public sector and is supervised by the minister of state. Every Greek citizen has periodically (several times per year) to pay a certain fee (it is incorporated within the electricity bill) so that ERT can secure a sufficient budget to run. Recently, the Greek government proudly announced the initiation of a project regarding the digitisation of the old archives of the ERT that are an invaluable cultural legacy for the Greek society.

However, there is still an ‘innocent fraud’ behind this ‘fancy’ endeavour: the digital archives are still under the exclusive property of the ERT. The story goes on as the Microsoft’s formats WMV have been selected to support the digitisation of the archives.

Our concerns related to the digitisation of the archives, which are actually a Commons for all the Greek people, are evident. In addition, supposing that ERT turns into a private company then a Commons will inevitably fall into private hands. Within the scripts hosted and written by P2P foundation, we have repeatedly emphasised the difference amongst the peer, private and state property.

P2P foundation in Greece demands/suggests:

1_that the archives are obtainable under legal licenses such as the Creative Commons or the GP

2_that open source formats are adopted to support the digitisation of the archives

3_that the archives of the ERT are organised within an official Commons in order to show publicly what the difference amongst peer property and others proprietary regimes is

4_that there is a need to build and reinforce a social alliance premised on participation, voluntarism and innovation that will pretend to the right of peer property and guard the Commons. Open source and Free software communities, bloggers, citizens as well as progressive members of the EU parliament should take part in this effort.

We ask the foreign public to support this endeavour by promoting the “ERT case” throughout their network.

For more info (in Greek) click here 

4 Comments P2P movement VS State ownership: The case of the ERT

  1. Michel Bauwens

    Hi Vasilis,

    some comments and questions:

    Should all public property revers to a commons? to which one? and under what institutional regime?

    It seems to me that we are very early in this struggle, and that what is on the order of the day for moment is the ‘freeing of the data’, which is a little different than putting the TV itself under ‘peer property’. In this modified scenario, it is the ‘data’ of the state tv which are put in a commons format, universally accessible to all. This is a fight which has been fought in several countries, creates a connection with existing movements, and has a record of experience and success, rather than to call for a as-yet-untried solution, for which there is no precedent.

    The difference is that TV production is expensive, scarce, and therefore best handled by public property under a democratic regime; however once produced, the data become distributable at marginal cost and therefore should be available at all.

    The arguments for open data, ‘freeing public data’, is the following: the public property of the state television has been realized by the money of all citizens, and should therefore be accessible to all citizens without extra payment, since they already payed for it.
    This is the moral argument.

    The pragmatic argument, against those that say that privatising and selling brings in income, is that it is in fact much more interesting financially, to free the data, as this create a thriving and innovative market (see google earth or gps for that matter) but of course also a thriving social usage, while selling to a few select companies, in fact excludes many of these possibilities. It creates monopolies, at best creates a tiny market, and no social usage at all.

    see open access to government information, here at http://p2pfoundation.net/Open_Data

    also:

    * Free Our Data (The Guardian technology section), http://www.freeourdata.org.uk/index.php

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