HTC says it embraces efforts of development community, but is that enough?

Last week, we learned that the owner of HTCRUU.com was contacted by an HTC lawyer to take the site off the interwebz due to the use of HTC’s name in the URL and imagery on the site itself. According to that lawyer, the site’s use of HTC’s name and logo weren’t the only things that got the OEM’s attention. The lawyer implied that the distribution of HTC’s RUU files was also problematic, stating that it’s an intellectual property of HTC’s and that the owner of HTCRUU was prohibited from distributing the files even on its non-infringing domain, AndroidFiles.org.

Welp HTC’s taken to its own blog to clarify the issue a bit. In a public statement, the Taiwanese manufacturer said its request was fueled only by use of the URL and logos on HTCRUU.com. HTC states that it didn’t want its name associated with a site that was distributing files that could potentially harm the users’ devices, and that’s totally understandable — no company wants to be liable for a broken device through files that weren’t meant to get into the hands of the public. Like we always say when we post about mods and ROMs, you do all of that at your own discretion and no one is responsible for it but yourself.

HTC went on to say that the company openly embraces the development community as evidenced by the bootloader unlock tool over at HTCDev.com. It’s true that HTC has facilitated the development community as well as just about anyone you can think of.

Last week, there was some buzz about a website that contained RUUs for HTC devices being taken down at the request of HTC. We’d like to take a minute to provide some background.

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. The domain name contained ‘HTC’ and it used HTC logos, making it appear to be an official HTC website. Like any other company, we must protect our trademarks and brand. We cannot risk being associated with, and held liable for, software that we don’t have any control over that’s put onto an HTC device through a third party.

HTC openly embraces the community that chooses to flash custom ROMs onto their devices. The HTC Unlock Bootloader tool on htcdev.com evidences this support. We think the custom ROM community is valuable to the overall health of the Android ecosystem, and we have no intention of abandoning them. We love the passion of this community, and we hope you continue to build with us, use HTC products, and give us honest and direct feedback.

The story won’t end on that note, though. Some users, including HTCRUU.com owner James Taylor, feel HTC is still dancing around the issue of the lawyer’s original request that RUUs be completely taken down from any other file hosting site. The aforementioned website owner states that “the lawyer also said that all HTC files were required to come down also. This request included all RUUs and custom roms of mine.”

This conflicts with HTC’s apparent stance that the site was targeted solely due to the domain name and HTC images, and users want it in clear writing from HTC that it is OK to distribute RUU files in a way that isn’t infringing on HTC’s image.

The development community’s concerns aren’t all that unreasonable, and should HTC truly be fine with RUUs being uploaded then we’re sure someone will test and challenge the company in due time. For now, though, Taylor will seek HTC’s blessings in clear wording before accepting this statement as a proverbial pass.

[via HTC, thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

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  • lynyrd65

    HTCDEV.com came only after massive protests and is ultimately not very useful. For starters the devices that need it most aren’t available, “due to carriers”.

    Also the unlock doesn’t actually unlock the bootloader completely, only recovery, system and data partitions are accessible to be modified. The modem, the hboot and fastboot remain locked which inhibits development.

    HTC can honestly go die in a fire for all I care. Their statements are lies and their true aspirations are anything but friendliness towards developers, rather sufficient appeasement to get inexperienced, (financially lucrative) end users to believe they are open so as to recommend their product.

    Using their legal team to bully development by shutting down HTCRUU should be enough evidence of their real intentions. I hope they burn for this.

    • rustygh

      Yup. HTC bows to the carriers. Verizon at$t
      HTC is going down fast, its really sad.

      • Manbo

        Looks like developer friendly Sony are waiting in the shadows to take over HTC’s spot :)

        • Manbo

          Like a ninja!

    • Mike Reid

      And their One X & X+ JB RUU’s are encrypted now too.

      I flash MANY ROMs on 20 different test phones for my app and the newer HTCs are a major headache compared to the ease of Samsung devices.

      5crew HTC. They were once the best at providing Android updates and had good hardware but things are different now.

  • MoeizW

    HTC doesn’t “bolster the development community”, they lock their bootloaders, delay kernel source code releases and push the blame onto carriers. I’ve bought my last HTC phone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000243194464 Sarah Hayek

      i agree, i’m looking seriously at LG at this point.. i’m not a huge samsung fan. although at this point my dream would be a Nokia Lumia with android :p anyone…?

      • GBGamer

        I may be (quite) a bit biased(G2X owner), but I would suggest not going to LG. Their developer support isn’t very good, and they honestly kind of suck.
        I’d suggest looking at the Sony Xperia Z or ZL. They are really nice phones, and Sony is the BEST when it comes to developers. They actually released the source code, for an ALPHA! What other manufacturer even releases alphas?
        TL;DR: LG sucks, Sony’s awesome.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Les-Anthis/1521734976 Les Anthis

          Yeah, but ask PS3 Linux Dev’s what they think of Sony and their open source policies!

          • GBGamer

            I agree, that did suck. But honestly, they’ve proven themselves to be pretty awesome with their phones. They definitely made a mistake with the PS3, but I think they saw the outrage, and have changed their ways.

            Now, to be fair, I’ve never owned a Playstation, so I don’t know what it was like. Hardcore Nintendo stallion here(I own every system from NES to Wii, two gameboys, and a DS).

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.huddleston Greg Huddleston

    Hummm would have more respect for HTC if they would actually keep their word and support their products (HTV EVO View 4G Tablet, for instance).

  • ac

    Looks like HTC is trying to do some PR saving, especially with the M7 release looming. I haven’t liked the direction HTC has been taking their devices, especially with their statement that people care more about how thin their phone is more-so than battery life…LOL…but everything about this statement screams, “oh no…please still buy our device. We’ll pretend that we’re playing nice with the dev community.”

  • Crimsonshadow774

    Haha they FINALLY grab my attention after 4 years of using Android………aaaaaaaaaaaaand its gone.

    • Arturo Carter

      Same here

  • Arturo Carter

    I had been strongly considering going with HTC for my next phone but all they did with this BS was strengthen my love-fest with Samsung

    • mkl99

      Well my current (Samsung) phone is a POS and they never did release any major updates for it. I was thinking of HTC Droid DNA or Motorola Razr Maxx… this news just makes my decision harder

  • Micah Madru

    I love HTC device for their build quality, but their software needs work. That’s why I run custom roms. But HTC makes it damn hard to do so and has not been too kind to modders. Honestly I don’t believe htc will change and it’s going to be the death of them.

  • tonkotsu

    BS. if the logos were the only issue, then they could have easily changed them.

  • Sean Daniel

    “HTC openly embraces the community that chooses to flash custom ROMs onto their devices.” I could say I can fly to the moon, but until it happens no one is going to believe me.

    I have had 2 HTC devices… From personal experience, I can tell you they could care less about the dev community. htcdev.com and the bootloader “unlock” tool are a joke. I will never again buy an HTC device because of the way they have behaved in the past year and a half. If they don’t want to support the dev community, fine. But making obvious efforts to hinder the community is a bit far.

  • http://twitter.com/CrankyV8 AfterShock

    I call bs on HTC too.

    My OneXL, will be my last HTC , Pissed me off too many times.

  • camelsnot

    htc lipservice. never again.