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March 23, 2007

Microsoft temporarily shutters Soapbox

Posted by David Hunter at 10:06 AM ET.

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.

Filed under MSN, MSN Soapbox, Microsoft

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One Response to “Microsoft temporarily shutters Soapbox”

  1. MSN Soapbox: gone in 60 seconds -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] I see that I haven’t spared any pixels for MSN Soapbox, Microsoft’s YouTube clone since it shut down temporarily in March due to the presence of the same copyright infringement problems that had Microsoft tut-tutting about YouTube. Apparently Soapbox relaunched in April to little fanfare and ambled along in closed beta as before. [...]

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