Google Books hearing: congressional reaction and behind the scenes video

There have been a few stories written already about this morning's House Judiciary hearing and David Drummond's announcement about opening up the Google Books program to even more competition.

Of course, everyone expected that some of the witnesses would praise the agreement and others would criticize it. But one of the most interesting things about the hearing were the reactions from Members of Congress. We gathered a few from news reports and our notes (unfortunately there's no official transcript available yet):

Rep. John Conyers, Chairman, House Judiciary Committee
“The settlement has, in my view, has been fair to copyright holders.” (Wall Street Journal) "A library available to every household with an Internet connection -- this could be the greatest innovation in book publishing since the Gutenberg press." (CNET) "Google is in this position not because they have engaged in anticompetitive behavior, but because they have built a better mousetrap in the eyes of mousetrap purchasers." (our notes)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren
"What I look at in this settlement is really the private sector achieving what we failed to achieve [with orphan works legislation]... I own a Kindle and I use it all the time, but one of the things that we're going to see here is for the first time some competition for Amazon because if we have an open source effort and a clearance of rights, you're going to have for the first time some heavy-duty competition." (our notes)

Rep. Brad Sherman
"I think the only thing that's irresponsible is to tell the people of the world they're not going to have access to all the knowledge in all the books for which authors cannot be found. That's what's irresponsible. Now when Congress doesn't act, maybe that's irresponsible. If you try to prevent others from acting, that may be irresponsible. If you choose not to act yourself, that's irresponsible. The overriding message here is this knowledge needs to be made available and I hope that we do that as quickly as possible. (our notes)

Rep. Lamar Smith
"[The settlement is a] novel and innovative way for people to acquire knowledge" (our notes)

Rep. Mel Watt

"The best protection of the prerogatives of the legislative branch is for us to legislate. Since we have haven't done very effectively the legislation on the orphaned works, it's hard for me to condemn the courts to have a case before it that determines what can be done and can't be done with orphaned works." (CNET)

We also filmed this behind the scenes video at the hearing. Check out the commentary from Chris Danielsen from the National Federation for the Blind, Judith Platt from the Association of American Publishers, Alan Davidson from Google's public policy team, and Dan Clancy, engineering director for Google Books.