Microsoft to shut down Soapbox temporarily over piracy concerns

Posted by Mark Raby

Redmond (WA) - Microsoft is temporarily closing its video sharing site while it implements stricter anti-piracy screening.  The move comes right after the software giant struck a deal with several media companies, and in the midst of a billion-dollar lawsuit against YouTube.

Microsoft recently struck a deal with a joint venture of media companies, including NBC and News Corp, to provide official videos to Microsoft's online service.  However, like YouTube, Soapbox had become littered with unauthorized clips of copyrighted shows and movies.

Though Microsoft says its push to higher restrictions was not imposed by anyone, it is likely a move intended to increase trust from its new partners.

The new initiative also comes while Microsoft is watching the much talked about lawsuit between YouTube and News Corp over the same issue.

The main form of automatic screening will be "digital fingerprinting", a technology that can automatically detect if an uploaded video has a special invisible watermark.  Depending on the breadth of the implementation, it would be possible to pick it up even if the video itself is not in great quality.