Perhaps Peter Spiro is confusing his constitutional and international specialities here. What can the rest of the world do about our country's first amendment anyway?
But don't they realize? Free speech is like a copyright claim- if you choose not to defend it in all cases, you lose it completely! GERMANY 1936
Hooray for an interesting and relevant poll question!
Well, people are dying so it makes sense they'd want to do something to stop it from spreading, without really getting into the philosophy of things...and the video is the mobilizing tool here. But:

Pretty sure people in Libya and Egypt know how to download youtube videos. Did censorship work in time of those 'spring's? This'll only create an impression that google is siding with the west by trying to stop people.

Also, do they really need the video at this point? All you need is a rumour, rumour of a video works even when there is no video at all... how else do you thing 11-yr olds get in a pickle for blasphemy?
Seems perfectly reasonable to me, though I doubt it'll do much good. An asshole already gave other assholes the excuse they were looking for. They're not going to stop now.
i don't think the issue is whether or not our first amendment applies to other countries. i think the issue is whether or not we want a corporation to censor media for whatever reason.
If the message we send is that we will forsake our core principles if we are threatened with violence, then we simply welcome more violence and threats of violence.

Unironically speaking, if we discard our rights becuase of threats of violence, the terrorists truly do win. 9/11 was a success for terrorism not because thousands were killed or several buildings were destroyed. It was a success because it caused such deep changes in our society, and our attitude towards our very rights.

Terrorist attacks can not truly harm our nation unless we allow them to dictate our path. They can rend flesh and steel, but have no power to destroy our nation or our sacred rights and beliefs.

However, as a corporation, Google has the right to choose where they offer which "products," so to speak.
Last I checked, Google isn't a government entity. They can block or allow anything they want and the First Amendment is irrelevant. Worrying about companies "governing online expression" is a joke. The internet is the freest mode of communication humanity has created. Relying on Google of all things to guarantee your rights is foolish.
Wow! An instructor at Temple University thinks that Google is Congress? Because the Amendment reads " CONGRESS shall make no law".

I'm sure glad I didn't waste my money studying law under this guy.
Boo for this decision. It's terrible precedent to send the message to primitives who find murder more acceptable than terrible youtube videos that destruction and violence will get you exactly what you want.

Though it's very unfortunate, I do find it understandable when certain people self-censor because of real and credible threats to their lives. However when governments, or huge entities like Google, do these things they tell the world that the civilized world will absolutely discard their principles when threatened.

The video is awful. The people killing others because of a video are a thousand times worse, and should never get what they want, period.
"Google is the world's gatekeeper of information."

This sentence is absurd. While it is true that Google dominates search and video sharing, they only do so because today they have a superior product. Despite their dominance, they have competitors - Bing for search, Daily Motion for video - whose products really are quite good, and the cost of switching is quite low. If Google were to overreach, users could and would start using other services.
Whether or not the First Amendment applies to other countries (it doesn't), free expression is still a fundamental American value that should be one of those ideals that we try to export to other countries. The whole point underlying the First Amendment is that ideas shouldn't be limited or met with violence, it should be countered with better ideas. It's a lesson that certain people still haven't learned, both here and abroad.

Bad move by Google.
What Google decides to block in other countries is one thing. My concern is what it blocks here. And what it blocks at the demand of other governments. If it decides the film is provoking violence and deaths, I have no problem.
@7 FTW.
That's a really tough one. I do think they did the right thing in this case but the precedent it sets makes me extremely uncomfortable.
Clearly we should be fighting for the right to call a central figure of another religion a pedophile, regardless of the blowback that will occur.

That, and yelling 'fire' in crowded movie theaters.
If you don't defend free speech when it's hard (KKK rallies, yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater, etc.) you won't have it later.
That said, Google can do what it likes - your first amendment rights just mean the government can't censor you. But I still wish they'd erred on the side of free speech instead of safe diplomats, no matter how hard that might be.
It's worth noting that reporters who asked rioters had found that not a single person they interviewed had actually seen the video. They'd just heard about it.
I wish these touchy Arabs would at least raise hell over thinks more substantial, that we could relate to. Like a fallen souffle perhaps.
@ 17, with rights come responsibility. KKK rallies are when free speech is hard, but yelling "fire" is irresponsible enough that the First Amendment doesn't apply. Arguably, neither is allowing this clip to be easily viewed by a bunch of easily inflamed violent people in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Arab world.

I'd rather that Google let it be shown and let the chips fall where they may. As @ 12 says, bad ideas should be countered with better ones. But... that's a very hard thing to do. I won't criticize Google for playing it safe, but they should be watched to see how this precedent (if one is set) is followed in the future.
There are islamic fundamentalists in more countries than just Libya and Egypt. We've already seen the protests spread to Yemen.

So, definitely the wrong thing for Google to do. A creepy precedent and ineffective.

Blocking the video throughout the mid-east would be a creepy precedent, but more likely effective.
Google is a private sector business. If you play in Google's sandbox, you have to play by their rules. Video distribution via Google isn't a Constitutional right.
@22 is exactly right, and this is far from the first time Google has catered to a country's anti-free speech attitudes.

1 word: China

Google's motto is more like, "Do as little evil as possible most of the time," now a days.
It seems like some sort of weird cultural superiority thing to say we must restrict this content from *those* people because they're not smart or civilized enough to handle it... but the situation is so bad. If they think this will help, I think there's a fire-in-a-theater justification for it. Not sure that I believe that it will help though (see @18).

The problem is not the content but the violence, obviously. But it's hard to say "chill out, it's just free speech! ideas!!!" when we are actually in the area killing people, supporting Israel which continues to kill and oppress and threaten nuclear war, etc. I don't think we'll solve the problems that are fueling the violence by restricting access to one internet video.
This whole situation is tragic, and more so because there are reasonable people on both sides. Immediately after the attack on our consolate, there was a massive pro-American rally in Libya, with people holding up signs saying things like "Islam is a religion of peace," "Thugs and killers do not represent Benghazi nor Islam," and "We are sorry."

Much like the racist assholes who produced this movie do not represent Americans as a whole, the rioters do not represent Egyptians or Libyans as a whole. Each group is a small, vocal minority, and each minority is attacking the wrong people. I knew Sean "VileRat" Smith, one of the State Department officers killed on Tuesday, and he was a friend to the Libyan people. He would have thought that video was despicable.
What idiot!!!! Put the 3rd choice????y the # of people choosing it. Know wonder were so schrewed up!!! Egypt and Libya never had a first amendment!! Let me see if i get this right? A supposidlly Caustic CHRISTIAN? Who is a known fake, junkie, dealer, i can keep going but,(his parol officer,and lawers can fill you in) i dont need too. Gets 4 people killed, 2 fellow marines, and an ambassador of the UNITED STATES!!!!, AS CONSTITUTIONAL EXPERT @17 PUTS IT!!
" If you don't defend free speech when it's hard (KKK rallies, yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater, etc.) you won't have it later.That said, Google can do what it likes - your first amendment rights just mean the government can't censor you," But I still wish they'd erred on the side of free speech instead of safe diplomats, no matter how hard that might be."
Posted by supergp on September 14, 2012 at 7:52 A

YA!! SUPERGP Lets KILL OUR HEROS!!EVERYBODY NEEDS TOO READ THIS!!! " People who really believe in our constitution, bill of rights(the one that says one person can say something stupid so others can suffer the consequences,) yes thats your right....but be ready to suffer the consuquences just like that KKK Member, you are so quick to quote, or the person who yelled fire in the theatre. You need to learn that just because you can do something, does not mean you should!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Why so quite!!!
People are dying. You don't worry about the First Amendment when people are dying, and especially not for the sake of a piece of garbage posted by a bunch of trolls. This is the exception to free speech - if it kills people, it shouldn't be protected! I'm not excusing the people in the Middle East who get all violently bent out of shape over something incredibly minor, but Google is absolutely right to do what it can to quell the crisis and save lives.
So @22 you really think Googles decision is, because they want to play god w/your life? I hate to say it ,but they dont give a s#!T @ your life. They care if other americans are going to get killed like most of US! Im so tired of people thinking there preciouese RIGHTS, are above others LIVES!!! Stop thinking everything is @ you, and learn to understand that millions of lives were sacrificed to give you that right.
Is it only me, or is Ryan the perfect anti-christ for a new The Omen movie?
22, Um, what are you talking about? I didn't say anything close to what you responding.
Those that would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety
-Benjamin Franklin 1759

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