Microsoft's Soapbox re-opens, beating YouTube to the punch with content filtering

MSN reopened Soapbox to the public this weekend after a two-month hiatus while the company implemented a content filtering system on the site. Soapbox now uses a combination of "proactive automatic filtering technology" by Audible Magic and automated tools of its own that will comb through videos uploaded by members. "As a software company, we have a deep belief in the responsible use and aggressive protection of intellectual property and see these as important steps to ensure the viability and success of our user-generated video service over the long term," Rob Bennett, general manager of Entertainment and Video Services at MSN, told Ars.

Audible Magic's filter checks for "fingerprinted" content-that is, content where the audio track matches an audio track contained in Audible Magic's database. This allows the software to compare the two relatively quickly and determine whether a clip is an exact copy of something that has been registered by a content owner.

"In addition, Microsoft is building tools to help content owners with automating certain parts of notice and takedown for anything that might not be caught during proactive filtering," Bennett said. "These tools do not use fingerprinting-they help content owners find content that might have slipped through the filtering, then allow them to more easily determine if it needs to be taken down, and to let us know in an easy, seamless fashion."

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