Jan, 30 2013

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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