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DVD Jon's Startup Launches with Index Funding

doubleTwist, the startup founded by hacker Jon “DVD Jon” Lech Johansen to combat restrictive DRM (and which we were first to write about in detail back in October 2006), launches Tuesday. The company has raised a Series A round of an unnamed amount from the top European VCs at Index Ventures.

Sharing with doubleTwist from Jon Lech Johansen on Vimeo.

San Francisco-based doubleTwist’s initial product is a Windows desktop application (and a companion Facebook application) for turning music files purchased on iTunes into MP3s (a.k.a. “liberating” them) in order to share them with friends and sync them with “the Sony PSP, Nokia N Series, Sony Ericsson Walkman & Cybershot phones, LG Viewty, and Windows Mobile smart phones such as those from HTC and Palm,” according to an emailed release. Video and photos are also supported. The basic product is free, but doubleTwist said it expects to charge for premium features. (Download it here and let us know what you think.)

Apple iPhone and Mac products are said to be on the way. The company had initially been set up as a counter to Apple, which has since loosened its stance on music DRM, but not completely. Back in 2006, doubleTwist co-founder and CTO Johansen explained his then solution was legal because he was adding DRM rather than stripping it away. “Instead of breaking the DRM (something he’s already done), Jon has replicated it, and wants to license the technology to companies that want their content (music, movies, whatever) to play on Apple devices,” we wrote. It seems his approach has changed — but now he has the VC backing to defend himself.

9 Responses to “DVD Jon's Startup Launches with Index Funding”

  1. Stuart Friedman

    DVD John is a great programmer, but a stupid businessman. Talking about buying a lawsuit! The Digital Millenium Protection Act was almost made to shut this program down. Fair use defenses have lost in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which sits in San Fransisco for the first round of DVD ripping programs based on DVD John’s code.

    Set up show in Paris! They hate iTunes DRM and have threatened to fund the crackers. He is an EU citizen, he can just move there. Yes, I know that the venture capitalists (the five remaining ones) are based in Frisco, but you can get projects funded in the EU, particularly where there is a logical reason to be there.

    The software industry is not Hollywood, you don’t need to be there and be seen to make it in that industry.

  2. Liz can you find out if this is different to any other analog hole based software on the market and how ?

    I wonder if doubletwist will still license its reverse engineered DRM to subscription based services?