Jon Lech JOHANSEN, together with Monique FARANTOS launched doubleTwist, a controversial software and service. Jon is better known as DVD Jon. In 1999, he wrote DeCSS, the software decrypting protected DVDs. DeCSS spread over the Internet despite the efforts of studios to stop it. The source code was even available on printed T-shirts. In 2006, he authored software defeating Apple’s DRM FairPlay. DoubleTwist seems to be a sequel of this early hack.
DoubleTwist allows sharing your contents on all your devices and sharing your contents with your friends on social networks such as FaceBook. Currently, doubleTwist supports a limited number of devices through iTunes synchronization: Nokia phones, Sony Walkmans, Sony PSP and Windows Mobile 6.0 platforms. Nevertheless, traditional USB download is valid. DoubleTwist is only available for Windows. The Mac version is under way.
Does doubleTwist infringe copyright laws? According to Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), it does not. To by pass FairPlay, doubleTwist uses the analog hole, i.e. it records content while played by iTunes. Thus, EFF claims that it does not circumvent any protection scheme and thus falls out of the scope of DMCA. Will this argument hold in front of a court?
Nevertheless, doubleTwist limited the duration of the shared video to ten minutes and the duration of shared audio to twenty minutes per file. This policy reminds the limitations of User Generated Content sites.
The launch of doubleTwist on 18th February raised a flurry of news. The personality of DVD Jon is probably one explication of such media interest. Since then, no news. Surprisingly, there is no known public reaction of Apple. Would a negative reaction be coherent with Steve Jobs advocating DRM-free content?