Apple Refused to Build Copyright Filters for iPod [Updated]

The New York Times reports on NBC's recent decision to publish their television shows on Microsoft's video store for use on their Zune media player. NBC was once a content provider for Apple's iTunes but after months of negotiations, NBC and Apple parted ways last August. Apple had claimed the split was due to pricing but NBC later said it also had to do with Apple's unwillingness to "take concrete steps" to prevent piracy.

NBC Universal's president of digital distribution, J. B. Perrette, provided some clarification about what these "steps" were and how Microsoft has agreed to add software to their Zune to prevent playback of pirated materials:

Mr. Perrette said the plan is to create filtering technology that allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content. He said this would be similar to systems being tested by Microsoft, Google and others that are meant to block pirated clips from video sharing sites. NBC is also working with Internet service providers like AT&T to put similar filters right into the network.

The software would attempt to block playback of content downloaded illegally through filesharing networks, and remains in development at this time. Perrette acknowledged that the steps would meet resistance but insists it is necessary to sustain their business over the long term.

Update: Microsoft denies that they will be placing a filter in their Zune:

"Microsoft has no plans or commitments to implement content filtering features in the Zune family of devices as part of our content distribution deal with NBC," the software maker said in a statement.