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.