In a post on his “Zune Insider” blog, Microsoft’s Cesar Menendez says reports that the company will include content blocking filters in its media player. “I am setting the record straight in stating clearly that we have no plans to add content blocking features in Zune,” Menendez said.
We cited a New York Times article that claimed Microsoft would add software to the Zune that would prevent media from playing unless it could verify that it had been legitimately licensed for playback on the device.
“We know you guys are following this discussion closely, and wanted to be absolutely clear on this issue,” Menendez wrote. “We have no plans or commitments to implement any new type of content filtering in the Zune devices as part of our content distribution deal with NBC.”
In a comment on the same blog post, the Times’ Saul Hansell responded that although Microsoft did not say it had committed to implementing the filtering software, it had committed to “explore filtering.”
Here is what Mr. Sohn, the Microsoft spokesman, told me yesterday when I asked him about what Mr. Perrette said: “I don’t think they are wrong, but we are not going to characterize those discussions.” Later he added, “We have agreed to work with NBC across a range of topics, and protection of copyrighted material is certainly one of them.”
It’s possible that Microsoft is just playing semantics here, but the indication that it understands the backlash that content filtering would cause among users is a positive one.