Thursday, April 7, 2011

Google's Testimony Before the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet

On April 6, 2011, Kent Walker, Google's Senior VP and General Counsel, testified before the Google's Testimony Before the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet.  This was at a hearing on “Promoting Investment and Protecting Commerce Online: Legitimate Sites v. Parasites, Part II.”  (Any chance that the use of the word "Parasites" in the title of the hearing showed some bias?)  Anyway, Mr. Walker's written testimony can be found here.  Techdirt has an article about the hearing here

A few highlights of the written testimony:

Internet technologies are used every day in amazing and perfectly legal ways. Without question, the information technology industry is the fastest growing business sector in the world, regularly experiencing double-digit growth and accounting for nearly one-fourth of our nation’s real GDP growth. The Internet adds an estimated $2 trillion to annual GDP. Interactive advertising alone is responsible for $300 billion of economic activity in the U.S., employing 3.1 million Americans.

The Internet has been a boon to businesses of every kind and size across the country. The efficiencies of the web reduce transaction costs for suppliers and consumers in every sector, while creating entirely new markets. Thanks to the Internet, it’s never been easier to start a business and reach a wide audience. More than a million small and large advertisers use Google as a platform to find customers in an increasingly global marketplace—from Twiddy, a vacation rental business in North Carolina that attributes recent growth and job creation to Google’s advertising tools, to two brothers in Austin Texas who use Google to grow loyalty and demand for premium YETI Coolers, certified to withstand smashing by hungry grizzly bears.

The innovations brought about by the Internet economy have also delivered enormous benefits to content creators. Google empowers traditional artists and an emerging generation of new creators to promote their work to a global audience. Google drives traffic to creators’ websites, sending, for example, four billion clicks a month to news sites. Every minute, users upload 35 hours of video content to our YouTube site.YouTube has allowed performers to rocket from oblivion to fame; has given politicians, pundits, andprotesters a powerful new way to communicate; has facilitated citizen journalism; and has inspired laughter atthe antics of dancing babies.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association has found that industries that rely on fair use and other limitations generate $4.7 trillion in revenue, represent one sixth of total U.S. GDP, and support 17 million jobs. While online piracy remains a serious enforcement problem, we should not lose sight of the overall balance of our nation’s copyright laws, which continues to spur a broad array of American-bred creativity and innovation.

There is much more in Mr. Walker's written comments, which are worth reading.

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