Microsoft has stopped new users signing up to the beta trial of its video sharing website Soapbox until it can guarantee a way of ensuring illegal videos aren't posted to the site.

Although still open to members who have already subscribed, the service, which hopes to topple Google's YouTube dominance has said that it is trying to constrict Soapbox's growth while it gains control over its 45,000-strong video-clip library in a sensitive legal environment.

Microsoft has said that it will remove videos under copyright if notified by the copyright holders.

The move follows Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit against Google over copyright content.

Microsoft is hoping to avoid falling foul of the same trick by implementing numerous filter technologies that block illegal content.

Microsoft plans to reopen Soapbox to all users within 30 to 60 days.

Las week Microsoft announced it was joining forces, under its MSN brand, with NBC in America to launch a video sharing website to go up against Google's YouTube.

The American TV network has also teamed up with News Corp, AOL, MySpace And Yahoo.