Continued Support for the Developer Community

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.

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

    The biggest problem with the takedown request wasn’t asking to take down the domain or the HTC ROMs – it was asking to take down even custom Sense ROMs, which is a jab at the Android community itself. You didn’t address this part in your statement.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

    Then why did your lawyer tell them that he had to remove his custom ROMs as well? The full text is posted of the conversation.

  • http://twitter.com/TeamAndIRC Justin Case

    So, are you saying they are OK to reupload all the firmware, as long as it is clearly not an HTC Site?

    • http://twitter.com/jetleigh Leigh

      The issue was that the site made it appear to be an HTC site by using HTC in the domain name and HTC logos. Otherwise it would not have been taken down.

      • http://twitter.com/Lloir Rob Shannon

        Could you edit the blog to say this then please? And that “custom” sense rom’s are ok too

      • http://twitter.com/TeamAndIRC Justin Case

        OK, not sure how this has to do with my comment, re-read it.

        • http://twitter.com/TeamDIRT_Mazda Alex™

          He was talking to Leigh, the author of the article

  • James Taylor

    Yes this was about my site. But the lawyer also said that all HTC files were required to come down also. This request included all RUUs and custom roms of my. But the domain name was my mistake and was an idiot choice.
    If this statement is saying that there is no issue with posting RUUs or custom roms then please clearly state that.

    • James Taylor

      Really easy answers. Yes or No. Can we host distribute RUUs? Can we distribute custom roms? Of course without risk of lawyer and/or lawsuits.

    • ruckusDecay

      A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol, design, sound, smell, color, product configuration, group of letters or numbers, or combination of these, adopted and used by a company to identify its products or services, and distinguish them from products and services made, sold, or provided by others.

      The primary purpose of trademarks is to prevent consumers from becoming confused about the source or origin of a product or service. Trademarks help consumers answer the questions: “Who makes this product?,” and, “Who provides this service?” As consumers become familiar with particular marks, and the goods or services they represent, marks can acquire a “secondary meaning,” as indicators of quality. Certain common words and geographical locations can also acquire secondary meaning and are afforded protection under the trademark law

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Yes but you killed the only site providing the files…

    • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

      there are plenty of others that have the RUUs available

  • http://www.pallab.net Pallab

    B.S. Have a look at XperiaBlog. They don’t use Sony’s logo, and Sony has allowed them to use the Xperia brand name. They issued a C&D a year back, but backtracked after realizing that it will do more harm than good.
    And in case you guys can’t accept that, ask them to change the domain name. But, you went after the ROMs themselves and not just the domain name or the website name.

  • Zach Coma

    Per the lawyer’s request, “Many of the ROMs names were all “code names” to refer the phones internally prior to public release, and were renamed after public release. In any event, even “release” ROMs pose similar issues, because they could be modified or changed in a way that could harm the device or its user, and that fault would be imputed to HTC. We really do need you to agree not to provide any HTC ROMs for download.” I understand taking de-HTC’ifying the site, which makes sense, but this request is clear-cut to remove RUUs.

  • http://twitter.com/TeamDIRT_Mazda Alex™

    Leigh, we’re waiting for you to say something!!!

    You can’t say one thing and then have your lawyer say another! From the email that lawyer put out, it made it seem like you guys were against hosting custom sense based ROMs but now you’re saying you’re not so please update the article or say something!!!

    If not, this makes it clear that you guys are two faced and that Samsung is really the choice for developers and those that support custom roms and such, not HTC.

    • Andrew Dodd

      Samsung is just as two-faced… Look at their promises made at the Big Android BBQ (none of which they kept…)

      Sony, on the other hand – consistently behaves in a positive manner towards the development community.

      • http://twitter.com/TeamDIRT_Mazda Alex™

        Yeah I’ve heard some good things about Sony here recently. But the point is, HTC needs to be more specific on what exactly they mean and not have this flip flop attitude that they’re having!

        Leigh writes about how “HTC openly embraces the community that chooses to flash custom ROMs onto their devices” but yet they send their lawyers and try to take things too far.

        Which the site was obvious and the owner admitted that it was a bad judgement call on the name and the logos BUT to say you have to take down our custom roms, that’s going against what they’ve said publicly.

        Still waiting on you, Leigh or someone from HTC to answer these questions!! Which one is it, do you truly support the custom rom community or is it a flip flop game with you guys??

      • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

        Tell that to the Sony Tablet S users who can’t root the latest update, and can’t downgrade to a previous OTA so they can root it.

        • jerdog76

          The issue with the Sony Tablet S is that it wasn’t developed/released under Sony Mobile (which is the group that has become the most developer-friendly OEM out there).

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

    If that’s the problem, why don’t you guys just host the RUUs yourself, so users can return to stock if needed?

    • Kjellorix

      Yea ! log in to HTCdev and always have a link to the latest RUU, latest Firmware, and latest stock recovery. for my One X. That will be a supernice servise.

    • abqnm

      I have been messaging them and G+ tagging them requesting this since the site was taken down, to no avail. Not even a reply on G+. I think it would make for more warranty problems for HTC since having them available surely prevents many of the warranty claims that would arise without them. As everyone including HTC knows, most devices can get around the official unlock method so that there is no official record of the unlocking. This makes having a way to recover even more essential and why HTC should host these files themselves or allow the 3rd party hosting to continue, sans HTC trademarks.

      • James Taylor

        Myself and some people from HTC have discussed everything that happened. It all has been resolved. Please read through my other comments for the article link on rootzwiki

    • Andrew Dodd

      Sony provides their flashtool now… Good question, if HTC really supports developers, why aren’t they providing the original RUUs themselves?

  • http://www.facebook.com/spen311 Spencer BK Ellis

    why in the world would you pull all of the custom ROMs? Dont you know that’s why most people use android? If this happens HTC can go to hell I’m getting a nexus.

  • Pingback: HTC Clarifies HTCRUU Shutdown, “Openly Embraces the Community” | Pocketnow()

  • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

    Also as long as we’re at it, why is kernel source code taking so long to release? The development community has almost fixed every bug from your JellyBean release for the HTC EVO 4G LTE but they need the kernel source to make the phone solid again. Y’all’re required under GPL to release it, sitting on it for months is not good for anyone.

  • http://twitter.com/Evil_DevNull Team Evil – Dev/Null

    PEOPLE READ THE 2ND PARAGRAPH! it’s in black and white

    • James Taylor

      The point is. The lawyer specifically told me to remove all files and not distribute them. This included the RUUs and the custom roms.

      • http://twitter.com/Evil_DevNull Team Evil – Dev/Null

        Oh i read the pastebin emails back and forth. that was domain by proxie covering their butt, not HTC

        • James Taylor

          No the conversation was with the lawyer representing HTC. The very first email was DbP only to notify me there was a complaint.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

          then all they have to do is say that was not their lawyer and that redistribution is a guaranteed right or something to that effect… that’s the only thing anyone cares about here is that they state their position clearly – can you modify a sense-based ROM, host it, and not worry (yes, no) can you host an RUU to restore the phone back to stock (yes, no) bam, whole thing’s over on two answers

          • http://twitter.com/Evil_DevNull Team Evil – Dev/Null

            i would if they would stop moderating my replys like XDA

    • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

      no, they removed a lot of the story – since I get moderated any time I post the link, I’ll just post the quotes from HTC’s lawyer that were not mentioned here – From Matt, the HTC lawyer to JMZ part one: “On the ROM front, HTC does not endorse or allow distribution of its ROMs by any third party.” part two after some more comments, you can read them on my site which I’m not linking as I’m being moderated for posting anything, “In any event, even “release” ROMs pose similar issues, because they could be modified or changed in a way that could harm the device or its user, and that fault would be imputed to HTC. We really do need you to agree not to provide any HTC ROMs for download.”

      These are the issues that people are up and angry about, HTC is just covering the complete thing up so they don’t have to comment on what the real issues anyone’s been mad about are…

      • http://blog.htc.com/ Larry Meadows

        Hi Paul,

        All comments with links go to moderation and I review them as I can. Not trying to stop you comments, but I do verify links are legitimate. My apologies for any confusion on moderation.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

          The links are legitimate, at least mine are. You have at least two posts awaiting moderation that link to the email exchange between James and the lawyer, and that’s what people are upset about, not the domain name takedown request of HTCRUU

        • http://twitter.com/WhoIsFerenczy Ferenczy

          …and? I still don’t see any links, may I take it that you’ve deemed them illegitimate? Again, if that is the case please tell us so…

          • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

            Mine came live this morning sometime, after being held for at least 12 hours

        • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

          So yeah, we’re at 9 hours now since my post (and others) were flagged for moderation and the links that point to the text of the emails still aren’t up.

          I’m failing to see the point in holding the comments in moderation this long. In this case you have stopped our comments and stopped anyone who might be interested in reading what JMZ software says they received.

          Holding comments this long and denying people the ability to look at the text of the legal threats the supposed HTC lawyer made is stopping the conversation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elman-Ortega/100000489644379 Elman Ortega

    accounts of few very good ppl in xda were closed example football all files are down so this is not just a name and logo thing this is bullshit

  • http://twitter.com/Evil_DevNull Team Evil – Dev/Null

    all this has to do with is logo rights, the Leighs post clearly stats this. Why do you people seriously need to be spoon feed information just to puke it back up?

    • gweilo8888

      Because the information provided here directly contradicts that provided by HTC’s lawyer — and what a lawyer says trumps anything a PR person says.

      Hopefully the lawyer overstepped his remit, and has been told not to do so again, but if that is the case HTC needs to clearly state that fact. Otherwise who’s to say that the lawyer won’t continue to take down sites that are in compliance with what Leigh says is allowed?

      • http://twitter.com/Evil_DevNull Team Evil – Dev/Null

        Is that right? because the only thing i saw was the name “Matt” no HTC email address’s in any of the posts show, it’s not what you know homie, it’s what YOU CAN PROVE.

        • gweilo8888

          I’m not your “homie”, and frankly, I feel no interest in “proving” anything to you. If you can’t be bothered to inform yourself, that’s your problem.

          Your post was based on a lack of information, I corrected it. End of. The information with which to enlighten yourself –and to validate what I said — can already be found in numerous other comments.

        • James Taylor

          I can prove it all. I didn’t post his email address because I’m not going to be the start of a personal war against a lawyer

  • disqus_3s2OMAsqhD

    If you are really supporting developer community, why keeping the phones S-On after bootloader unlocking?
    Goodbye HTC and have a nice SOD together with Nokia

  • http://twitter.com/WhoIsFerenczy Ferenczy

    No offense Leigh but exactly why should we use your blog posting as a basis for HTC’s official stance on this issue and not the emails from HTC’s lawyer that contacted James? I’m sure you can see why we would be inclined to follow the lawyer’s requests while disregarding your post.

    What we need is an official statement from someone specifically regarding the issues put forth by the lawyer for HTC. Until then I reckon I’m not the only one bound to put your company in my rear view mirror.

    Thanks for your time (if any)

  • MoeizW

    “HTC openly embraces the community that chooses to flash custom ROMs onto their devices”


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

    HTC with lawyers attacking the small guys will not win over loyalist’s continued business. I have decided to leave HTC products in search of a company with a better message that we end users can relate to.

  • tonkotsu

    HTC, your company is in the poor condition it is now because you make foolish decisions like this one after another.

    The people that work on your roms are the ones that defend and support you the most out of all the communities there are. What you just did was slap them firmly on the face.

  • Aaron Wells

    Ok..make them change the site name and remove logos…EASY

  • wewewi

    Sorry HTC, I will openly embrace other companies from now on.

    See U in court to discuss repair policies and customer service.

  • http://twitter.com/yousaf465 yousaf

    Lock your Bootloader, don’t provide Sense roms and sources, the sales will shoot through the floor.

    Unlocking Bootloader void warranty unlike Samsung which provides already unlocked bootloader. Comparing their Sales numbers with HTC is like comparing Google with yahoo. No comparison!

  • gweilo8888

    Dear HTC: Thank you for acknowledging this story. I would like clarification, though: are you publicly saying that it is allowed for third parties to host your RUUs, and to redistribute (free of charge, and only for use on HTC hardware) roms based on your Sense libraries? And if so, can you explain why your legal representative told the site in question otherwise, and what you have done to prevent a recurrence of that?

    The reason I ask is that the site in question was apparently told by your lawyer that all RUUs and any roms based on HTC’s roms had to be removed as well, and that statement was made after the domain had already been surrendered and HTC logos removed.

    I have no problem with you protecting your trademark. I have a major problem with blocking RUU / rom sharing, though. So I’m really hoping you can set my mind at rest.

  • http://twitter.com/mdeejay_ru mdeejay

    really? and why we should wait 30-40-60 days kernel source codes??? why we can’t normally unlock bootloaders? htc thinks we’re idiots?

  • James Taylor

    You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. If you read the post on other sites which includes the emails from the lawyer then you will understand it more.

  • http://twitter.com/shipman jon shipman

    Can we have the One X JB 3.1 kernel source please? Then all will be forgiven.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mohammed.duri Mohammed Duri

    Thank you HTC. Now help the HTC development community to S-OFF their HTC android phones.

  • Kjellorix

    Now after this forum, i really hate HTC moderator, and i never gonna by a HTC device anymoore !

  • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

    I love how they held this comment for 20 hours. The lawyer was from HTC (which you’ve now seen as I understand on Twitter) – formatting on that paste site was pretty bad.

  • http://twitter.com/alphapixel AlphaPixel, LLC

    So, if HTC supports the open development community so well, why are you making life so difficult for owners of the once-“flagship” HTC Thunderbolt, like me? We can barely get an open Android OS to run on this thing because you gus are so closed with the internals of it. Which wouldn’t be that bad, but you totally blew off deploying ICS for it, so we either have to run ancient Gingerbread (!) or run a hacked LiquidSmooth that is flaky and unreliable because they can’t figure out your internals.

    Put your money where your mouth is, stop posturing and start supporting. At this point, I don’t think I can buy another HTC product or recommend them to my friends because of the crap support you’ve provided for what should have been an amazing piece of hardware.

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

    Yeah, embrace the community HTC, that explains the R/only instructions in your X+ & DNA kernels. What a crock of BS.

    BTW, I guess MacWorld should go bye bye too… SInce it uses the copy righted name “Mac”. There are HTC clubs (unofficial) on Facebook that have logos. Screw that crap. Not for profit + freedom of speech = F.O. HTC…

  • Zakarz

    All of this is really sad really. Don’t get me wrong, I think they make awesome phones. I’ve owned every Evo phone they’ve made for Sprint, but as time goes on they seem to make it harder to tinker with. HTC seems to want to emulate apple with these ridiculous moves “to protect the consumer”. Not only are they snubbing the developers, they are also snubbing the common consumer by not giving them the option of external SD cards and removable batteries…. and they wonder why their company is failing….

  • Jonnyboi82

    I know somebody whom works at HTC head office and I just have to say, he knows they make bad decisions and there’s so much politics going on there. I honestly think that part of the problem at HTC is the fact that many people there have a Taiwanese thought process of ‘that’ll do’ and ‘I don’t want to look bad or question in case I get fired’. HTC are so damn foolish. If I were there I bet I could spruce up that company in no time, but I think it’d be an awful uphill battle with the Taiwanese mindset. Also their marketing is so rubbish. Horrible green and white palette that’s just uninspiring and clinical. Their mindset on their marketing is also just plain wrong. You can see they’re going for minimalist like Apple, but they’re just getting it wrong, wrong, wrong, just like this decision to go after developers was wrong, wrong, wrong. Stupidity.

    • James Taylor

      Myself and some people from HTC have discussed everything that happened. It all has been resolved. Please read through my other comments for the article link on rootzwiki for the end of the story

  • James Taylor

    For the final and ending chapter of this please read http://t.co/srzpj77A

  • James Taylor

    Myself and some people from HTC have discussed everything that happened. It all has been resolved. Please read through my other comments for the article link on rootzwiki for the finale

  • James Taylor

    Myself and some people from HTC have discussed everything that happened. It all has been resolved. Please read through my other comments for the finale article link on rootzwiki

  • http://www.facebook.com/mildlydisturbed Paul Erin King

    it seriously astounds me that a week after this was posted that most of the questions that the users had have not been answered by HTC. I mean, I know the resolution, RUUs and ROMs are fine, you guys have somewhat apologized to JMZ. All of this latest mess could have been avoided had you answered any of the comments directly. It would have been over.

    I don’t think you can claim to embrace the developer community if you won’t, I don’t know, talk to them. There’re all these people in your comments section who have asked legitimate questions, voiced concerns, and I don’t see answers… I just see your press release.

    You can either press-release relations with the developer community, in which case it blows up in your face like CIQ and this did, or you can get someone to answer these questions. It seems like just having someone to look at this blog and modify things would have been absurdly easier than what’s been going on

    Give me a direct line to someone who can answer stuff, I promise I won’t waste more than 10 minutes of their time a week, or continue doing what you’re doing, it’s not working out particularly well though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/menndiary Huang Jyun Ming

    If HTC really supporting the Developer Community, why not just directly provide these RUUs to developers?
    There are many models didn’t have RUUs leaked.