Late last week, news broke that HTC was forcing the owner of HTCRUU.com to not only give up the domain, but remove all hosted RUU files and custom ROMs based on Sense. This was, of course, because he was in violation of HTC's intellectual property rights, as the site's name had "HTC" in the title, was adorned with official HTC logos, and contained official HTC software. Needless to say, the developer community was a little up in arms over the removal of the files – especially because HTC specifically requested that the Sense-based ROMs be taken down.

Now, however, the company has taken to its official blog and written a short post vowing its "continued support to the developer community." In the midst of this post, it specifically states that "the issue with the site in question was NOT that it provided custom ROMs or RUUs. The site used HTC trademarks without a license from HTC." This, of course, is in stark contrast to what HTC's lawyers told HTCRUU.com's owner – in fact, they even asked if he could direct them to other sites hosting HTC ROMs without permission, as that would be "very helpful" (in having those sites taken down, no doubt).

On the ROM front, HTC does not endorse or allow distribution of its ROMs by any third party. (In particular, many of those hosted here are from pre-release phones.) The ROMs pose a significant consumer protection issue for HTC, since it does not control the software and, if installed on users' devices, it could cause harm to the user. If you are aware of any third party sites providing ROMs that HTC should know about, please do let me know - it would be very helpful.

Direct quote from HTC's lawyer. Emphasis mine.

So, the question remains: if hosting RUUs and Sense-based ROMs wasn't the issue, can proprietary HTC firmware be uploaded and hosted elsewhere – to a domain that doesn't infringe on HTC's intellectual property? Unfortunately, HTC is mum on any question of the sort – just read the comments on their post, it's riddled with that very thought.


Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • cy_n_ic

    Too bad today is my last day with an htc device or i might care more. Nexus all the way baby! Well if it made them feel worse we could say this is the reason i jumped ship hehe ;)

    • Goldenpins

      you will love it. After my last HTC device (mytouch 4g) i will never buy another one of there phones. It was durable, but updates never came and it was hard to unlock. They made it almost impossible to unlock. I have not been tempted to root and rom a phone since my Gnexus. The most i debate on is changing boot animations. lol

      • Simon Lee

        same here, totally agree, die HTC, or dont become another walled garden company!

  • fixxmyhead

    sure HTC whatever u say wink wink huh

  • marcusmaximus04

    Isn't... isn't what's going on kinda obvious? HTC isn't going to search out Sense-based ROMs, but they can't just ignore ones that are right in front of them on a page they're requesting to be taken down for using their name and logo.

    It's like a cop who doesn't really care if people smoke pot but has just pulled over a guy for going 120mph down the freeway and has a massive bong in his lap.

    • toshistation

      You just described my next traffic ticket. Thanks for the idea!

      Also, I hope you're correct. I think they probably had to defend their trademark, so as not to embolden others who would use it without permission.

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

    So why do they continue to lock bootloaders without allowing unlocking via htcdev? Why do they bend their backs to carriers who require such things? Why do they have new security features, like encrypted RUUs and /system partition write protection? If they were so "supportive of the development community," wouldn't things like these not occur?

    • Mike Reid

      HTC is also encrypting their JB RUUs for One X & X+ now.

      NOT dev friendly at all.

      • Elias

        Sony has always been more friendly towards the deve community than Samsung. Just read any of CyanogenMod's developers' Google+. Sony actually steps forward to help them at times, while Samsung don't give a f*ck to developers and actually acts against consumers sometimes - such as in the superbrick episode, in which they not only refuse to reckon the issue, but also acted against devs' fixes and avoided releasing updates for "outdated" phones. All documented in G+.
        I've had enough of Samsung. From now on, only nexus devices, whoever they come from.

        • http://www.facebook.com/xethor Tarun Pemmaraju

          Needless to say, they have fixed the superbrick bug in the latest I9100 roms.

        • http://twitter.com/kuyanyan Yanyan | RR

          For now, I'll give the nod to Samsung as they seem to be the only company capable of announcing and releasing models that have the latest version of Android and compared to other manufacturers, they're getting better in updating their phones (the S II is still the only 2011 phone with official JB right now). Sony is definitely on its way and given their attitude towards the dev community, they might be even better than Samsung but not right now. Even the Xperia Z will not run Android's latest and greatest on release.

          • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

            Yeah....but...while I agree HTC has recently shun the community that has supported it for so many years & while Samsung has gotten better about updates & building upon useful features, Samsung still has major issues with their source. There is a reasoon you don't see many TW roms that are built & patched from code, just the never finished CM or AOSP & their endless updates & added features, but rarely ever a true final version. The reason for that becomes clear if you have EVER tried to build from Samsung's source. With HTC source, you can actually build a booting rom, not so much with Samsung's source. Give it a try. Download their source & try to compile. I garuntee you won't get a functioning rom to boot. That said, I have moved to the Note 2 after a dozen years of HTC devices & am hopeful that Motorola & their X phone will truly be open. Sony, uses a lot of proprietary drivers & other user side code that is not a part of the open source code & well LG is a lost cause when it comes to updates unless it is a Nexus device.

          • http://twitter.com/kuyanyan Yanyan | RR

            I'm not really a developer and to be honest, I see the ability to put custom ROMs on Android as something fun to do but not something that should be necessary. I understand the legal aspects of making the phone and it's not just the manufacturer that dictates which updates to push out. Parts manufacturers and license holders are still part of the equation that is why no phone can be truly open. As a consumer, I'd rather have a company that actually gives me a phone that is up-to-date, gives me maintenance updates and the latest Android update if possible. 2011 was a bad year for HTC and 2012, while better, didn't put them in a good position. With my experience with HTC this year, I no longer care about their products.

          • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

            There we agree completely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amrin.long Amrin Long

    After hearing of HTC not supporting the open source community and dealing with the devil (Apple) I've already decided to take my brand loyalty elsewhere. Sprint is now on the fence too with no 4g LTE coverage. The message sent by companies is what we end users relate to.

    • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

      I think it may well be partly in response to the cross licensing agreement they struck with Apple. I have asked them about it via email, Facebook, Google+ & have yet seen anyone at HTC deny or refute the question. This is the tact Apple would take & is it truly just coincidence that shortly after they strike a deal with Apple, that the infamous Football4PDA disappears off the face of the earth & attacks start on hosts of developer Sense roms?

  • mgamerz

    Those roms have already killed 20 people... HTC has a right to defend human life... /sarcasm.

  • Falconator

    I'm proud HTC took down that site...it gave me the clap.

  • jaduncan

    Astonishingly, Sony have become what HTC once were: dev friendly and the reliable choice for dev support.

    • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

      I wouldn't go that far. Maybe they will, but it is way too early to know that for certain. Everyone knows how Sony was in regards to anything PlayStation, so we'll have to wait & see if they truly start building & supporting quality devices with open source that cleanly compiles.

      • blunden

        Sony Mobile has nothing to do with the PlayStation debacle.

        • http://evildevnull.com/thinktank/index.php?action=collapse;c=14;sa=collapse;d227fb2388ec=9e8bb86861f0686e54bcbaae99929bbd#c14 George Leon

          Except now they are doing PS certified devices. So, as I said, we shall see.

  • Dan

    So, when has HTC ever gone after a ROM or RUU that wasn't hosted on a site which used HTC's logo and/or a URL with "HTC" in it? The owner of that site made a bad decision with the URL and then was a freakin' idiot for stealing the HTC logo and putting it on his site. HTC has been very friendly to custom roms, but they can't play see-no-evil when you're using their logo and their name in your URL.

    HTC is also not going to explicitly say you're allowed to host the RUUs anywhere you want because doing so would seriously compromise their copyrights. Their continued practice of ignoring RUU distribution (when not accompanied by stolen logos and dumb site names) is a completely different ball of legal knots from publicly blessing it.

    • Elias

      So they should have only contacted the guy to say "get rid of our logos or we'll sue the shit out of you". Not kidnap the whole site, with roms and ruus.

  • http://fnords.org/ Markoff Chaney

    And they wonder why no one buys their shitty phones anymore.

  • yankeesusa

    So glad I left htc behind when I left the evo 3d. Love my galaxy note 2 and so far sense hasn't been missed by me at all.

  • Raptor0065

    I've never forgotten the htc/CarrierIQ fiasco, how they lied about it and then attacked Trevor with lawsuits. I've never owned a htc device since.

    I know that it was bigger than just one carrier and manufacturer but they (htc) were #1 and definitely showed their ass instead of their integrity.

  • tleaf100

    they may say their "interested" what the dev community does, but they used to be briliant for supporting devs, thats how we got ghe briliant hd2, which i am still using everyday, but they stopped supporting devs years ago, locked bootloaders etc,etc, unless m7 or next gen can be properly unlocked, then its nexus for me next.

  • Elias

    PR people say one thing, lawyers do the opposite. I call bullshit. HTC, if you ever plan to be taken seriously again, get your shit together and act like a cohesive entity. We're not stupid, do you think you're dealing with Apple customers? Learn how to act properly and treat your customers and devs right.
    But then again, you don't really have to care about me. You already lost me irredeemably at the carrier iq fiasco. Only chance I'll ever have another htc is if you make a nexus.

  • http://twitter.com/Dr_MBambi Moaz Bambi

    And they wonder why they lost 79% of their revenue at one time..

  • http://www.aymansanliturk.com/ Ayman Sanliturk

    I have bought a Nexus 4 yesterday. And I am sure even though their hardware and build quality is great, everyone is fed up with their policies on software which is an open source project in the first place. One X was my first Android phone, and from now on I will never buy a non-Nexus phone ever. Nexus is the eco-system that is supposed to be for all Android world.

  • http://twitter.com/CrankyV8 AfterShock

    Sorry HTC, stung me one too many times, I'm moving to new pastures.
    May look to Moto hidden 2013 stuff.

  • TejasEric

    I have had two HTC phones, Evo and Evo 4g LTE, and I loved them both, but despite continued words from HTC saying they support the developer community their actions show different. I will probably be purchasing a Samsung or Sony next simply because of their support for the developer community.

  • Matthew Fry

    Here's the unbelievable part in my eyes. "...if installed on users' devices, it could cause harm to the user." I've never heard of anyone installing a custom rom and then blaming HTC because it was unstable.

  • Jaime

    Anybody knows what the post about Qualcomm was about?

  • http://twitter.com/kuyanyan Yanyan | RR

    While HTC has the right to defend their trademark, it would have been better that they update their phones instead of wasting their time going after the dev community. Do they really need to have all the RUUs removed? That's going a bit too far. My experience with HTC's aftersales support has been abysmal. The last update for my One V was on August last year. That's a solid four months of support with major bugs still not dealt with! It doesn't help that online and phone support and claiming warranty at their service centers are no better.

  • Zakarz

    Sadly, after owning every Evo they released for Sprint, this might be the last time I purchase their phones and try someone else.

  • Gimmethecash

    HTC we have chosen your phones when everyone said not to. We have stuck by your side when you let carriers bad mouth your products and software, knowing you could could have helped loyal customers. By redirecting them to sites showing the difference in carriers throttling and how good and fast your product truly is. Maybe that's why your company isn't #1 because you cater to the big bloat wear packages and not the users who spend there hard earned money to buy your products.