On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Microsoft was joining the Anti-YouTube Network which is supposed to be squeaky clean with regard to the absence of pirated content, Microsoft has temporarily closed MSN Soapbox as it works on its own copyright protection mechanisms:
Microsoft is closing its video-sharing site, Soapbox, to new users for up to two months so it can create better safeguards against pirated content.
The software giant, which agreed earlier Thursday to distribute movies and TV shows for big media companies, has seen Soapbox fill up with unauthorized clips since a test version of the site launched last month.
No new subscribers will be accepted, but anyone who has already signed up for Soapbox can continue to access the site, said Adam Sohn, a director in Microsoft’s online-services group.
Microsoft stood to be embarrassed by the existence of pirated work on Soapbox. There was a real possibility that the company could have found itself distributing video from News Corp. and NBC Universal, at the same time another one of its units was hosting material stolen from those same companies.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, you didn’t have to look hard to find plenty of that nasty pirated video on Soapbox. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with, since if this were a simple problem, everyone would have fixed it already.
Update: per the article, Microsoft will be using some digital fingerprinting technologies licensed from Audible Magic which is a leader in the field.