'DVD Jon' Launches Doubletwist: Share and Sync Protected iTunes Music

Jon Lech Johansen ("DVD Jon") launched DoubleTwist today, a venture that was originally reported back in October 2006. DVD Jon originally gained notoriety (and his nickname) for his involvement in releasing the DeCSS software that allowed the bypassing of DVD copy protection. Since then, he has made headlines with the release of QTFairUse which decoded Apple's FairPlay digital rights system for iTunes.

The early reports about DoubleTwist suggested that DVD Jon had reverse engineered Apple's FairPlay copy protection and planned on licensing it to other companies. Today's launch, however, is a much different product.

DoubleTwist states its mission is to "enable consumers to enjoy their digital media on the widest possible range of devices." To that end, DoubleTwist has introduced a free product called doubleTwist desktop which allows users to sync and share media between different devices, handling the necessary format conversions transparently.

With digital media such as video from a friends cell phone or your own iTunes playlists, its a jungle out there. It can be an hour-long exercise in futility to convert files to the correct format and transfer them to your Sony PSP or your phone
...
Our goal is to provide a simple and well integrated solution that the average consumer can use to eliminate the headaches associated with their expanding digital universe.

CNet describes how the software works:

When a device is plugged into a PC (Windows XP and Vista only right now, Mac OS X coming soon), DoubleTwist launches and recognizes all the media files on the device. Any file can be selected, dragged, and dropped into DoubleTwist to be synched up to a separate device, or shared with other users you've "friended" who also use DoubleTwist.

According to Cnet, DoubleTwist will also import and convert protected AACs (purchased iTunes songs) into MP3s so they will be playable by other devices. The official DoubleTwist site appears to downplay this functionality, only listing mp3, aac/m4a, wma, and wav amongst supported audio formats. Statements by DoubleTwist's founder, however, confirm that the software will do this, but is only capable of converting songs that you are authorized to play.

A Mac OS X client and iPhone web-app are expected in Q2 2008, and the software is free.

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