In an effort to avoid future legal pitfalls, Microsoft has temporarily closed Soapbox, its video-sharing site, to new users while it beefs up protections against pirated video content. Reports say the site may be closed for as long as two months.
Last month, the software giant agreed to distribute movies and TV shows for two major media companies. Simultaneously, Soapbox, a separate project, was apparently being fed numerous clips with copyright-protected video included from those very companies.
As a result, no new subscribers will be accepted, but anyone who has already signed up for Soapbox can continue to access the site, Adam Sohn, a director in Microsoft's online-services group, told CNET.
Microsoft has joined AOL and Yahoo as part of a new online joint venture of media conglomerates that also includes NBC Universal and News Corp. The new video network, scheduled to debut this summer, will feature full-length programming, movies and clips from at least a dozen TV networks and two major film studios.
To help create a filtering system that would prevent the uploading of copyrighted video clips, Microsoft licensed digital-fingerprinting technology from Audible Magic, CNET reported.