Microsoft Tells Hollywood To Avoid Filtering
The technology YouTube has in mind to detect and filter content will be a bad deal for the studios, and Microsoft has quietly asked powerful Hollywood honchos to skip it in favor of another option.
That option comes in the form of Microsoft’s Soapbox service. Microsoft wants to work with them to combat piracy, but the studios should not employ the filtering efforts that YouTube and Google have promised. Variety grabbed the confidential memo that arrived in the inboxes of people like Disney’s Robert Iger and others. They published a brief portion of it online:
In the letter, media and entertainment VP Blair Westlake said Microsoft is developing "what we believe content owners want and need: industry-leading notice and takedown … practices, including tools that enable our content partners to more easily find content that is rightfully theirs and give us prompt notice so we can respond even more efficiently and expeditiously."
Microsoft thinks filtering isn’t reliable enough as a solution to be implemented. Various Hollywood players already dislike the YouTube/Google approach, which Variety noted seems to be ploys to get studios to license content to them in distribution and revenue sharing deals. Though Microsoft’s strategy isn’t detailed, the company does substantial business licensing its DRM schemes to content producers and online storefronts that sell digital media.
Also, proactively bringing studios into their camp by making them part of the process can help another aspect of Microsoft’s entertainment business. Their Zune media player launched a few months ago, and has not captured the public’s interest as has the Apple iPod. Apple’s device has become iconic in stature, and led them to enormous profits from the iPod’s hardware margins.
Microsoft would love nothing more than to approach Apple’s numbers. With Hollywood on their side, funneling content through Soapbox and very likely the Zune, they could have a chance at doing that.