March 22, 2007 6:35 PM PDT

Microsoft temporarily closes video site

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.

Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo have agreed to be 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 television networks and two major film studios.

Copyright issues have become a central issue to the nascent online video market. On YouTube, the largest video-sharing site, there are thousands of clips posted to the site without the copyright holder's consent.

To help create a filtering system that would prevent the uploading of copyrighted video clips, Microsoft licensed digital-fingerprinting technology from Audible Magic.

Sohn said the changes were not forced on Microsoft by its new partners, although he acknowledged that some of the content providers were very interested in how his company planned to clean up Soapbox.

"This software company is aligned very closely with the notion of intellectual-property rights," Sohn said. "We feel this is the right time to make these changes and stand up to do the right thing."

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another pathetic attempt by Microsoft
I'm getting sick and tired of MS bully networks and other media about how they are the warriors of Digital Rights and then end up not only screwing the customer they end up messing it up for the artists they are trying to protect. Last year it was the zune and in the end it either goes to far to protect rights or they have a gapig hole in their program. Now, it's this stupid soapbox. Did they not see what's been going on with Youtube and other file sharing sites for the last 5 years. Stay out of my living room MS I'm sick and tired of you pretending you know what I want and it seems you have even less of an idea how it's actually supposed to work. By the way when are you gonna fix my 6 month old Zune!
Posted by MRMOAV (29 comments )
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What is Going On?
While I am not a big Microsoft fan, these third rate attempts by
them have to stop. It's almost as if they are coming up with
half-baked ideas, then staffing it with resources that aren't
qualified to do the job.

This company has the money, and the time, to do just about
anything right. Instead, they repeatedly do things at best, not
quite right, and worse totally miss the boat. I really don't
understand it.

They complain about not having enough technically experienced
people in the U.S., yet other local companies can find the talent.
The real problem with this company, quite frankly, HAS to be it's
leadership. You can't continue to blame others, the market, or
that people hate you (even though they do, that has no bearing).
If anyone should be tired of their continuing, constant issues
with quality, it should be THEM.

It's time they took a look at themselves, from the top down.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
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The right thing?
<quote>"This software company is aligned very closely with the notion of intellectual-property rights," Sohn said. "We feel this is the right time to make these changes and stand up to do the right thing."</quote>

Since when is Microsoft the model for abiding the law and doing the right thing.

What a joke.

They have stolen practically everything they do and every idea they have.

Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
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Pants on fire
Amusingly, the reason given on the site ( is "In order to grow and implement some important new features , Soapbox temporarily requires you to login using your Windows Live ID before you can watch or upload videos." I wonder what those "important new features" are....
Posted by HappyHiker (2 comments )
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critical mass
When it gets to the point when drm is so restrictive that even a cd or dvd you buy at the store requires an aditional fee to actually play the contents, that's when I'll officially give up, set fire to my cd and dvd collections and move to a hut in the middle of nowhere where watching the grass grow is an olympic event. Until then, I'll continue to dumpster dive the bargain bin at walmart!
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
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