Last Updated: March 7th, 2013

Update: This whole situation ended up being resolved just a couple of weeks after this story was published, with HTC backing off on its assertion that the stock and custom HTC ROMs couldn't be distributed. It did request that the HTCRUU.com domain be handed over, but the ROMs that were hosted there previously will now be available at ruu.androidfiles.org. It's good to hear HTC isn't cracking down on the custom software community, though whether this resolution came about because of a legitimate misunderstanding, or simply as PR damage control, isn't clear.

It seems the days of centrally accessible HTC RUU files are at an end - for the time being - as the owner of HTCRUU.com was forced to surrender his site after a representative HTC's legal team suggested this was the only way to "resolve" his unauthorized hosting of HTC's software. No formal legal action was taken against the owner.

HTCRUU was quite simply a repository of Sense ROMs for HTC phones. HTC decided it didn't like that sort of thing, and told James his site infringed HTC's trademark and copyrights.

Which it did. It used HTC's logo, HTC's name in the URL, and it hosted proprietary HTC software, all without permission. Make no mistake - what James was doing was 100% in violation of HTC's intellectual property rights. But it's still easy to see why people may get upset about it.

HTC has generally left the custom ROM community to its own devices, apart from individuals who actively sought to publish unreleased HTC software. This has allowed a thriving Sense ROM community to emerge on XDA, RootzWiki, and other hubs of developer collaboration. But the shuttering of HTCRUU may be a shift to a stance of more active policing for the company.

The shutdown resulted in the removal of all files from HTCRUU, whether stock or custom Sense-based ROMs, and the eventual transferring of the domain to HTC (on grounds of trademark infringement). Any such files in temporary storage (eg, http://androidfiles.org/ruu/) must also be cleared out.

You can find a redacted version of the emails leading up to the shutdown here, and a Reddit thread (which also has the emails) with more info here.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • TynanDeRosa

    So instead of being like, hey! change the site, drop the htc from the title, drop the official ruu's that aren't custom roms and you'll be fine. They said fuck you, give us the site or we're going to sue you?

    Pretty shitty if you ask me, Might as well go after XDA or Goo.im if they don't want people re-hosting their ruu's.

    • Kcls

      Don't give them any ideas...

    • McLean Riley

      Bad guy HTC doesn't care about PR apparently. This will go a long way to continue to tarnish their image. More proof that they have lost sight of being dev friendly.

      • TynanDeRosa

        I guess that agreement with Apple means they had to take on Apple's approach to legal as well. Fucking sucks.

      • New_Guy

        True. i was already on the fence about HTC and this kind of scares me sense I rely so heavily on custom ROMs. This is just bad ju-ju...

    • Owen Finn

      Don't give them any ideas...!

    • chlo1ber

      Well, hosting the OFFICIAL RUUs is the main point of the website. So allowing him just to use custom ROMs is like telling him to shut down the website.

    • Elias

      Congrats, HTC, you're stupid as fuck. Seeing companies acting so dumb and short-sighted makes me hate them and want to see them fail. Samsung's hostility with the dev community and recklessness with the customers (superbrick, lack of OS updates) made me swear I'll never again get a Samsung device which isn't a Nexus. Sony's stupidness with enforcing lockdown of the ps3 made me never buy it, and I probably won't go for the ps4 too because they're still thinking with their ass instead of their brains. Apple's general stupidity towards consumers and lockdown of their systems is the main reason I want to see Apple failing. And I want to see you failing too, HTC, so that you can learn how to treat customers and devs right.
      Now I'm in Nexus land, I'm happy and I'll never look back.

  • http://canerk.com/ Caner Kamburoglu

    I will never buy an HTC phone.

    • hyperbolic

      Exactly my thoughts...

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

        For me, HTC phones look difficult to root anyway because of S-Off (compared to my Galaxy S II i9100 which has Download mode) ,they have easily smashable screens and often lack removable batteries.

        Also I remember the Desire HD having a measly 4GB of internal memory which is enough for the OS and maybe 1 or 2 apps alongside.

        Don't get me wrong they look nice and can have nice specifications such as the One X...

        Now we have this rather aggressive C&D on top of all that, the only way I will ever get an HTC device is if Google use them as an OEM again like they did with the Dream (1st Android phone ever) and the Nexus One (1st Nexus phone ever).

        • http://www.facebook.com/nickdrakewhat Nick Drake

          The screens aren't quite as "smashable" as most phones. Matter of fact, this is the first android phone I've ever owned (all my others were Samsung) that I haven't broken the screen on.

          The process of rooting it isn't bad at all if you are well with taking instructions. I rooted my Evo 4G LTE a couple days after I got it within an hour or so.

          • http://www.ellianth.com Ellianth

            Sounds like you're just careless...

        • http://www.facebook.com/rpmcavoy Ryan Patrick McAvoy

          Agreed. My Droid Incredible's screen broke so easily.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

            I actually got that source of information from some friends and a report from BBC Watchdog, I didn't have mine long enough to go smashy with. XD

  • HebeGuess

    Huh~, its must be conspiracy.. first they encryted rom.zip, then followed football quiting RUU business, And now..

  • marcusmaximus04

    He likely had to take down the ROMs simply as a side effect of using the site "HTCRUU.com". I doubt this marks some kind of change in HTC where they'll actively hunt down ROM makers. They just found the problem with the site and couldn't overtly overlook the ROMs.

  • Slobodan Vucinic

    One X is so photogenic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.s.gibson Stephen S Gibson

    Phew, just used this site to return to stock so I could fool them into thinking I hadn't flashed my device so I could get repairs in warranty.

  • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

    HTC may make nice phones; but the One X is the last HTC phone I'm ever buying, and I will never recommend an HTC phone to another person. Whether or not HTC likes it, there is a large userbase of "enthusiasts" who like to modify their phone; and what they are also forgetting is that this group is also the most vocal about their phones.

    All I can say is goodbye HTC. I'm moving over to Nexus land and I'm sure I will be much happier over there than I am with you guys right now.

    • Paul_Werner

      You'll love it once you get your Nexus. I switched a while back and am not looking back what so ever

    • http://twitter.com/mrjayviper Jayel Villamin

      if you can even buy a nexus4! :D

      • http://www.facebook.com/julian.ooi Julian Ooi

        what's a nexus 4?

        • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

          This mythical phone that is said to exist, but I don't believe it :D

    • Guest

      I had to go through the hell that was the Thunderbolt, and I just got my Droid DNA on saturday. I absolutely love it, but make no mistake, I only bought this phone for its Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1080p screen, and design aesthetic (the red and black goes extremely well with my custom built computer). I bought it outright to keep my unlimited LTE, but it will definitely be the last HTC phone I buy.

      • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

        Indeed; like I said, they make fantastic phones. I like my One X. But guess what? I LOVE my One X when it is running AOSP, which unfortunately I can only get through development sources. Since HTC continues to lock bootloaders, disable /system writing, and all the other crap they keep trying to pull, I'm gone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rpmcavoy Ryan Patrick McAvoy

      I switched from my Thunderbolt to a Galaxy Nexus and I have no regrets. Nexus phones are so awesome, and anything after ICS looks so good on stock android. I would hate to have HTC sense over the newer versions of Android, even though I really loved HTCSense up through Gingerbread.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/psycho_maniac_ Jerry Lange

    HTC is dead to me. I stopped caring about them after the thunderbolt

    • New_Guy

      The're dead to you and much of the world apparently, judging by their most recent earning report. This will not help their cause at all...

    • mgamerz

      Don't worry they still care their #1 priority is giving you IC... ah screw it I can't lie to you.

    • Cherokee4Life

      I don't know... I loved my og EVO and my EVO LTE. yeah my main beef with it is the lack of removable battery. but I have learned to accept it. This just means that I will not but an HTC phone until I KNOW FOR SURE the ROM community has taken it back from HTC. and if not well then I shall switch

    • TylerChappell

      I had to go through the hell that was the Thunderbolt too, and I just got my Droid DNA on saturday. I absolutely love it, but make no mistake, I only bought this phone for its Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB of RAM, 1080p screen, and design aesthetic (the red and black goes extremely well with my custom built computer). I bought it outright to keep my unlimited LTE, but it will definitely be the last HTC phone I buy.

  • Blake

    Screw HTC phones, im over them. I guess its on to Samsung GS3

    • adam

      thats the same time im on bro!! evo 4g lte i have now will be my last HTC phone.. sammy here i come!!

  • Jmz

    The biggest piece of this is that not only did they require me to take down the RUUs. They also required me to take down my custom roms. That is where the email refers to 7 additional roms that are infringing.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, this is the part that infuriated me. All the other stuff was acceptable - but once they go after the community, they're opening up a Pandora's box.

      • mgamerz

        But HTC is good at flushing money down the toilet and scaring developers away. Why break tradition?

    • New_Guy

      Sorry to hear that, man. It's people like you that have kept my POS Thunderbolt alive. All I know is that they'd better leave Santod alone or I'll do something crazy...

  • RCK

    HTC are stupid fags!

    HTCRUU saved my ass more than one time when I needed stock roms!
    I will certainly remember this when I am buying my new device!

    • New_Guy

      Okay, that comment just made me laugh out loud =).

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      HTCRUU was very handy indeed.

  • heat361

    This is why I only buy nexus

    • https://twitter.com/#!/psycho_maniac_ Jerry Lange

      sucks nexus only devices is only sold on everything but verizon. I want the n4 :(

      • http://www.facebook.com/rpmcavoy Ryan Patrick McAvoy

        Right? I love my Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, but I wish I could upgrade to the n4! I hate the low storage space on it, but my gnex's battery and reception has been absolutely horrible lately

  • http://www.buttie.pl/ buttie

    Yeah, I understand that they've got all rights to do it, but they didn't have to act as a pack of dicks whom they apparently are. And that's not a first PR-disaster for them.
    Anyway I don't care any more. Since all that clusterf... with ICS for Desire HD I have no interest in this company and any of their products.

    • New_Guy

      It's like this...Spitting on the sidewalk is illegal to do in Tucson, AZ. But what cop in their right mind writes a ticket for that. Doesn't happen. Some things just don't need to be enforced.

  • Mārtiņš Belte

    ...Faith in HTC - lost...
    I don't like them anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/mdiggty mdiggty

    I never liked their sideways battery that hasn't changed since gingerbread. Things like this make HTC even more off putting

  • brkshr

    Well that's just not nice!

  • RCK57

    Why don't the just worry about fixing my evo 4g lte. Oh well they got my cash and don't care. Bring on the Galaxy S4

  • wtf

    its a shame for HTC,developer community is what all OEM´s must support..not to mention bad timing..I love their hardware and Sense,but getting like this on devs is a bad move..

  • http://twitter.com/RicoWorldPeace Rico World Peace

    I'm never buying an HTC phone again. They are only a few years from bankruptcy anyway.

  • TechGuy21

    my last phone was a sensation. im done with them. all about sammy , moto or sony.

  • paxmos

    Who is HTC?...Oh, they made my Nexus 1..yea I remember...It's been so long though....

  • smeddy

    Bye bye HTC - what, you thought this would increase sales how, exactly?

  • Mikkel Georgsen

    HTC quietly bullying

    No more HTC for me - LG and Samsung from now on

  • Scott

    Wow that's pretty shitty of them. Good thing I've moved on to Motorola.

  • Pete

    This is pretty funny. People going off their heads over this.

    "It used HTC's logo, HTC's name in the URL, and it hosted proprietary HTC software, all without permission. Make no mistake - what James was doing was 100% in violation of HTC's intellectual property rights."

    Oh how dare they take the site down!!
    Everyone here knows about 1/1000th of what actually happened in this scenario, so yeah switch to Motorolla. Then when they make a business decision you don't like, switch to Samsung.
    Good luck all


  • http://www.facebook.com/bella.pease.75 Bella Pease

    Just as Samsung, admittedly very slowly, are trying to improve relationships with the Dev community, HTC pull off this PR masterpiece!

    Hope your feature phones aren't as buggy as the last, not that I give a shit, I won't be buying.

  • wewewi

    Lets simply comment on HTC's page; http://www.facebook.com/HTC?ref=ts&fref=ts

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      All done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bella.pease.75 Bella Pease

    A sense-less decision!

    • Cherokee4Life

      that made me laugh out loud!!

  • Bojan Gutic

    Yes, HTC, continue to alienate the developer community. Because THAT'S what you need right now...

  • Owen Finn

    So glad I sold my HTC phone and went Nexus.

  • http://twitter.com/carlorepunte Carlo Repunte

    HTC digging their own grave... i'm a previous owner of Desire HD but shifted to Samsung Galaxy Note II because of HTC bad after sales support...

  • Sqube

    You know... the only thing that made me consider going with HTC for my next device was the ability to root and ROM it. I understand that this is their intellectual property and that they're well within their rights to do exactly what they did.

    I feel that, as a company that's fallen a long way from when they used to be the alpha company for Android, they should be doing everything in their power to encourage all types of users to want to purchase their devices.

    Is this fair? Frankly, yes. If you do something illegal, there can be consequences. Is this smart? Absolutely not. Knowing that HTC is cracking down on the dev community just makes me that much less likely to purchase one of their devices the next go around... which figures to be in the next couple of months.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rpmcavoy Ryan Patrick McAvoy

      If you want to root and ROM phones, buy nexus-only. You will not regret it and it is so incredibly easy on them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/farisfitri2303 Faris Fitri

    I guess it's either a Nexus or a Sony for me now...

  • add119

    Im suprise their htc fan after stopping physical keyboards in 2011 with mytouch 4g slide as their last. Now this htc will sink just like palm pre in 2011 and blackberry in 2010. Htc will be in burning fire in 2014 it will be end of android. Maybe window phone.

  • Tony Willis

    wow HTC you suck even harder...Instead of taking a hint as to why Samsung,apple and LG are trouncing around you.You do this?Don't think that the M7 is going to save you from the Gs4,OG2,Moto x phone,etc....cause it ain't.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kirss.aaro aaro kirss

    HTC really can't make right decisions. I love competition but FUCK HTC

  • http://www.facebook.com/rpmcavoy Ryan Patrick McAvoy

    It's a shame. HTC used to be one of the best, and I stood by them. I loved my Droid Incredible, and the Thunderbolt was also not a bad phone (although rather buggy). I just can't believe that HTC doesn't realize why they're doing so awful... they completely ignore what customers want. For instance, every single HTC phone that came out over the past few years have had and overwhelming amount of people complaining about battery life, and yet they just ignored that complaint and continued to make great phones that only lasted a few hours. That's what made me give up on them.

  • http://twitter.com/devarajah87 MND

    Anyone know where I can get the stock ruu for the HTC One V gsm version? I JUST decided to root the One V only two days ago to try and eventually overclock this slow piece of poop that the phone is, and now, when I eventually find out where to get a stock rom, HTC goes and does this... I can't believe it. I'm most definitely not buying an HTC device in the future. Any help would be greatly appreciated =]

  • mark beckford

    That's why I only buy nexus phones! This my 3rd nexus.. Nexus 4 baby all the way..
    Sent from my to get nexus 4 running Jellybean 4.2.1