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Microsoft shutters video sharing site

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Microsoft has closed its video sharing website to new users while it wrestles with how to ensure material on the site obeys copyright laws.

Visitors to the site this morning saw the following message:

Dear Soapbox users,

Thanks for helping us test the Soapbox on MSN Video beta – we've really appreciated the feedback we've gotten from our user community about the service. 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. If you don't have a Soapbox account, we'll be opening the doors again very soon with some cool new stuff to try. Thanks for your patience as we continue to build the best place to "make your statement" on the web.

The Soapbox on MSN Video Team

Soapbox is Microsoft's belated entry into the copyright-unfriendly world of user-created video. Although wildy popular, most video sharing sites rely on a proportion of copyright material - which means you need some kind of automated take-down system.

A statement by Adam Sohn, director of global sales and marketing at MSN, said: "As a reflection of our commitment to creating experiences that respect copyright, today, we have temporarily closed Soapbox on MSN Video to new users to begin implementing copyright filtering solutions.

"During this period, users who currently have access to Soapbox will be able to continue to use the service to upload and view videos while we deploy and begin testing the filtering solutions. We want to automate finding copyrighted content for content owners as much as possible through good tools as well as run filtering in the background. Following this period, we will open Soapbox back up in public beta to more broadly test the filters.

"We continue to be committed to providing a great experience for people to find and share their personal videos on Soapbox on MSN Video. 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." ®

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