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Microsoft Takes Soapbox Private Again; Will Add Copyright Filtering

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Soapbox on MSN Video is leaving beta for a copyright tune-up. The Microsoft user-gen site needs an estimated 30-60 days to implement and test proactive filtering using Audible Magic, spokesman Adam Sohn told us this afternoon. Current users will be able to continue with the user-gen service but no new accounts will be added; the company didn’t provide the number of users.
The move isn’t directly prompted by the announcement today that MSN will be a launch distribution partner of NBCU-News Corp.’s new video network but that was one factor. But copyright — and showing allegiance to it — has been on Microsoft’s agenda for some time. A few weeks ago, corporate VP Blair Westlake sent a letter to a number of major media execs assuring them of Microsoft’s willingness to work with them to provide copyright protection.That letter went out as Soapbox was leaving private status for beta and copyrighted material was being to be visible. In the interim, Viacom sued Googlte and YouTube, giving the issue even more urgency for many companies. Without directly drawing to Viacom, Sohn said, “We’ve been thinking of filtering for a long time. It’s the right time to pull the trigger. It’s the right thing to do for the long term.”
Sohn explains that the company doesn’t want to chill user behavior: “We’re expanding the availability of an amazing amount of content so you don’t have to post this stuff.” He envisions a user trying to upload an episode of Heroes and getting a note that the content is already available.
Newco’s content will appear in MSN Video, which only offers licensed content. Soapbox ostensibly would be an outlet for personal distribution once that feature is turned by the new venture. Sohn expects Soapbox to be back in public beta and at scale by the time Newco launches.
The big question: will the two 14-second cell phone concert videos of Eric Clapton I’ve posted on Soapbox survive Audible Magic?
Microsoft Focuses On Takedown, Not Filters, For Soapbox
— <a href="" title="MSN