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Media Liberation, Coming to a Facebook Near You

Having completed its first round of venture funding, doubleTwist -- the company dedicated to "helping consumers liberate their media" -- has raised the curtain on its first product offerings.

doubleTwist's new desktop program claims it will liberate digital media from their DRM protections, so consumers can share content with their friends and sync it to any device they choose.

"When you receive an e-mail, you can read it on your Blackberry, Web mail or Outlook. E-mail just works," said Monique Farantzos, CEO of doubleTwist and co-founder of the company with Jon Lech Johansen, known in some circles as DVD Jon.

"With digital media such as video from a friend's cell phone or your own iTunes playlists, it's a jungle out there," Farantzos continued. "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."

doubleTwist's other offering is a Facebook application, called "Twist me." Released in beta, Twist me allows people to share media with their Facebook friends and sync to a variety of portables, including Sony PSP and Nokia N series handsets, with support for the iPhone coming soon.

Available as a free download, the doubleTwist desktop detects and displays media from any peripheral device and "transparently handles any necessary file conversions." doubleTwist said that the product also integrates with Apple's iTunes store, so people could sync digital music bought through that application to a variety of devices, effectively working around the DRM restrictions attached to most music available on iTunes.

If it takes hold, and survives the legal challenges that could be waiting, the technology could come as a body blow to DRM, already on the ropes as the major record labels have already shown their willingness to license their collections without the restrictions to Amazon. The industry's alliance with Amazon MP3 is of course a calculated move to break Apple's vice-grip on digital music. However, doubleTwist is now offering a freely distributed technological workaround that would accomplish what Apple has not been able to through its licensing agreements: shed the usage restrictions from the music available through its wildly popular online store.

As released, the desktop application works with Windows XP or Vista. A version for the Mac operating system is expected in the second quarter of the year.

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