updated 04:05 pm EST, Tue February 19, 2008
Best known for his DeCSS routine that bypassed DVD encryption, Jon Lech Johansen and his startup company doubleTwist today launched a new utility they hope will all but eliminate the restrictions that normally block transferring music and videos between devices. Just referred to as doubleTwist Desktop, the app is designed to share and sync media regardless of the format and uses intelligent converters to produce more universal formats out of sometimes proprietary files.
The software is aware of playlists for iTunes and other jukeboxes, and includes its own allegedly legal method of circumventing copy protection system such as Apple's FairPlay or Microsoft's Windows Media: protected songs authorized to play through iTunes for the computer are recorded into MP3s in real-time, using the live output to generate a track without the copy restrictions.
The doubleTwist app's sharing also relies on Facebook rather than on peer-to-peer services such as BitTorrent or the Gnutella network. The software integrates tightly with social networks and allows users to share songs by sending content to user profiles. doubleTwist currently promises support for Facebook through a TwistMe web application but says it will add support for any network that supports Google's OpenSocial platform, which will ultimately count MySpace as well as existing members such as Ning.
The software is currently available only for Windows XP and Vista PCs but should be available in a Mac version in the near future. A web-based iPhone version of Desktop is also expected soon, though how playback will function (if at all) is unclear.