Robert Cringely speculates on the reasoning behind Google's decision to continue hosting the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" clip despite a request from the State Department to remove it. Cringely believes that Google worries that if it were to begin removing videos, it would lose access to the "Safe Harbor" defense of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which exempts it from liability for copyright violations by its users, provided that it does not police the users' uploads (except to ensure compliance with its terms of service). Thus if Google were to begin removing videos from US view on non-copyright/non-terms-of-service grounds, it could be liable for $150,000 copyright fines for every infringing video in the YouTube collection.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.