Android News

ROM distributor claims HTC is shutting him down

June 17, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Android News

htc-quietly-brilliant

HTC devices are among the most popular in the phone hacking/modding community. You can go to many websites/ forums to get your custom ROM fix for Android or Windows Mobile and gain access to plenty of features or optimizations that were otherwise absent.

That doesn’t sit very well with HTC, according to one website owner.

Shipped-Roms claims that he received a cease and desist letter from HTC, ordering him to stop distributing their trademarked work on his website. The owner claims that HTC wants him to remove links that contain “software/ROM related to HTC’s Intellectual Property, which entails illegal copying of HTC’s original art work.”

I’m a little surprised by this. I know for a fact that HTC has been aware of several popular websites with active communities of ROM developers changing and distributing its work with relative impunity. I don’t need to name them, but there are several sites that are much more popular than Shipped-Roms, so why would HTC raise a stink about this particular site?

Hard to say, but it’s probably because Shipped-ROMS distributes the actual ROM’s that ship with a device. That’s technically more unnerving than a developer compiling bits of software into a new piece of software, but it’s still essentially using HTC’s IP. We can hope HTC continues to take a blind eye to that sort of activity, but it will get harder given the rising popularity of these custom ROM’s.

UPDATE: Here’s HTC’s response to Engadget

“While HTC tries to take a hands off [approach] about the modder / ROM chef community, this site’s sole purpose [is] to make HTC’s content available for download from a source other than HTC. That content is not just the open source parts and kernels of Android but all of the software that HTC itself has developed. This is a clear violation of our copyrights and HTC needs to defend itself in these cases.”

Read the supposed C&D letter in full here, spotted via MobileCrunch