HTC issues half-statement on the HTCRUU issue, pulls an HTC again

HTCQuiet - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereSomething that outraged many people after the HTCRUU takedown was that HTC’s lawyer said custom ROMs had to be taken down, as they were a threat to both end-users and HTC. Additionally, he stated that any leads on any other custom ROMs would be appreciated, as they were going to be taken down, as well. As usual, HTC missed the point about what angered people, and issued the following statement:

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 statement completely misses what the development community was asking in plain and simple terms: your lawyer said redistribution of custom modified Sense-based ROMs was going to be investigated and prosecuted.

Sure, JMZ software was perhaps kind of dumb for including HTC in the domain name and using its image; however, tons of other sites do that and don’t get prosecuted. This statement doesn’t change the fact that was ticked people off was the forced removal of modified works and the notice that it was going to be pursued.

HTC, here is what people are asking. And feel free to post yes or no answers to these questions:

  • Are you going to shut down any site that distributes RUU files?
  • Are you backing your lawyer, saying distribution of Sense-based ROMs will be pursued and prosecuted?
  • Rather than continue to issue half-statements like the above that infuriate the public, will you please open a direct line to the development community that doesn’t let anti-HTC anger fester for tens days before a response that doesn’t answer the questions?

To be clear, I think everyone understands why you went after a domain name that started with HTC. HTCRUU might have been able to be confused with HTC, I’ll admit, although that is still far-fetched. But I don’t think too many people had a problem with your request that the name go away.

What people had a problem with was the removal of the RUU files, and more importantly the custom ROMs. Both are actively used in development and by the root crowd, and you don’t seem to be too keen on providing links to restore our phones back to their factory state.

Also, a personal request, fire your PR person or whoever makes people wait for these half statements. They’re only making things worse. Just answer the questions the developer community asks, and realize that you can’t manage the reactions positively by making people wait weeks for answers. There’s no statement that  you can issue now that’s not going to be too little, too late.

Want HTC to turn around and take the lead? Stop doing what you’ve been doing. Doing what caused you to fail before will cause you to fail again, and you’ve already lost so many developers just from what you’ve done in the past three months. The development community is actively engaged in fixing the bugs every official OTA update seems to include, and when they’re all gone and working on Nexus devices, you’re going to have to do all the work yourself.

If you want to let HTC know what you think about this whole mess, you can leave comments on the press release at the link below.

[HTC] Thanks, Simon!

Check out the rest of our Android coverage, including app reviewsNexus news, and more at pocketables.com/android.

Pocketables does not accept targeted advertising, phony guest posts, paid reviews, etc. Help us keep this way with support on Patreon!
become a patron button - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

Avatar of Paul E King

33 thoughts on “HTC issues half-statement on the HTCRUU issue, pulls an HTC again

  • Avatar of Simon Belmont
    January 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm
    Permalink

    Ahh. You must have been writing that as I tipped you guys.

    Nice write up. Thanks for posting.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Paul E King
      January 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm
      Permalink

      I haven’t seen the tip yet, but thanks for sending it in (they go to John first)

      Reply
      • Avatar of Simon Belmont
        January 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm
        Permalink

        No problem. I just happened to notice it, so figured I’d forward it along. ;)

        But of course, I figured you’d guys would know already. You’re on top of your game. :)

        Reply
    • Avatar of Paul E King
      January 30, 2013 at 12:50 pm
      Permalink

      Would have edited you into the thanks, but it appears John just did… I’m locked out of correcting my hastily written piece :)

      Reply
      • Avatar of Simon Belmont
        January 30, 2013 at 12:51 pm
        Permalink

        Ah man. Thanks, guys. :)

        You didn’t have to do that. I just am glad people are seeing this. :D

        Reply
  • Avatar of Simon Belmont
    January 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm
    Permalink

    I’ve thoroughly read your piece now. I agree.

    I did respect them asking to remove the websites with HTC branding (they have to protect their name), and even the RUUs (they have to protect their IP) was something that made sense (hurrr, Sense, get it?). But, the custom ROMs part did not seem justified and needs better clarification.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Alex Cruz
    January 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm
    Permalink

    I agree on the personal request!!!

    If they would just come out and issue a REAL statement and answer all the questions that have been made, there wouldn’t be an issue!

    I’m sick of this flip flop attitude that they have!!

    One day they say they support the custom rom community and the next, they’re trying to shut it down!

    I might seriously consider looking at Samsung or Sony as an alternative!

    Reply
  • Avatar of Simon Belmont
    January 30, 2013 at 12:50 pm
    Permalink

    I think this is partially damage control. Well, at least, that’s how I see it.

    But, yeah, it clearly needs to be laid out whether they will pursue anyone who is making and posting custom Sense based ROMs online. That is still unclear in their post.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Randy S
    January 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm
    Permalink

    Given that they responded only discussing concerns over their branding being used in such a way that could be misleading, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the lawyer just didn’t understand what he was supposed to do when HTC had him take down the website. I don’t believe that Sense ROM development is at risk.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Paul E King
      January 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm
      Permalink

      I’m sure it’s probably ok, but for some reason HTC has some issue saying it’s ok. That’s where the interest in this lays for me.

      Why can’t they say “Hosting modified Sense-based ROMs for personal use is OK as long as there is no implication that HTC has endorsed this or anything on this site”

      Or “The lawyer did not understand the scope of what we asked and believed he was protecting the end users. We encourage developers to modify and redistribute custom ROMs as long as they do not harm and do not claim to be sponsored or supported by HTC”

      Reply
      • Avatar of Simon Belmont
        January 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm
        Permalink

        Hmm. Probably because they don’t want to put something into writing that they may not want to stand by later on down the road.

        Broken promises look bad and not making a promise in the first place might seem like a better tact, in their eyes. I’m not condoning it, but that is what I think might be going on.

        Reply
      • Avatar of Randy S
        January 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm
        Permalink

        Well, given the implications of corporate statements, I’m willing to bet a lawyer screened the response. And if it was the same lawyer, he was probably quick to take out the part about the lawyer who didn’t know what he was doing. :)

        Reply
  • Avatar of Ferenczy
    January 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm
    Permalink

    So could we feasibly have a domain name like, errr, NIGHTCLUBRUU (see what I did there?) and load up all of your ROMs (the custom ones too) and you’d have no issue with it? Just as long as we leave off the logo, right?

    Seriously, are you guys at HTC really going to hang your hats on that?

    Is this the part where I fall down on the ground and roll around laughing?

    It’s likely that there was no legal reason for you to have Jmz remove the logo and name outside of the page clicks he may have been generating. This is all about money, right? Tell the truth now, c’mon, you know you wanna.

    Any JackWagon that went to HTCRUU and incorrectly flashed one of the files would be T.S.O.L. as far as you are concerned. Jmz was using your name illegally, that in and of itself was probably more than enough to excuse you guys from the litigators table. Any damages would have been James’ problem, not yours.

    If he was offering your ROMs and doing a better job of it than you then every click was a dollar in his pocket. Now isn’t that why you shut him down?

    You’ll have to trust me when I tell you that we would have stood in line to get a crack at any Joker trying to sue HTC if they improperly flashed one of your RUUs from Jmz site. Now we’ll just stand in line somewhere else, to buy a different brand, and we’ll snicker and laugh at you HTC. You’re a joke…

    Reply
  • Avatar of John Freml
    January 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm
    Permalink

    OK, I understand and agree with your sentiments, Paul, but a direct quote from the press release:

    “The issue with the site in question was NOT that it provided custom ROMs or RUUs.”

    That seems to pretty clearly answer your questions…

    Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont
      January 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm
      Permalink

      I think that he understood that. However, he was wondering why legal counsel asked JMZ to remove custom Sense ROMs from his site.

      The statements from the release doesn’t jibe with what actually happened. It probably just boils down to a misunderstanding in how it was handled though.

      Reply
    • Avatar of Paul E King
      January 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm
      Permalink

      No it doesn’t: http://pastie.org/pastes/5846701/text

      Their legal department clearly told JMZ software something else.

      That’s the problem I have. And they can’t seem to say in simple terms that they don’t back that.

      Remember, this started as “the problem was with the name and the similarities” and it escalated into “oh, and you can’t host custom ROMs and your help hunting down anyone else who does would be appreciated”

      Two direct quotes from the lawyer:

      “On the ROM front, HTC does not endorse or allow distribution of its ROMs by any third party.”

      And

      “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.”

      Reply
        • Avatar of Paul E King
          January 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm
          Permalink

          Posted this over on their blog and am now awaiting moderation before it posts as, well, evidently I’m a troublemaker

          Reply
          • Avatar of Ferenczy
            January 30, 2013 at 1:29 pm
            Permalink

            …yep, we’re just gonna have to start calling you ‘The Rabble’

  • Avatar of Paul E King
    January 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    Permalink

    Here’s yet another statement that just misses it “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.”

    All people are asking is can we simply get a “yes, the lawyer made a mistake in saying you could not distribute these ROMs. Yes, you can host RUUs. No, we do not allow a company to use the name and look similar.”

    It’s like if they don’t issue a three paragraph statement that doesn’t answer the question their heads would explode.

    I seriously want to give them a web page that contains two answers and they have to select from one of those answers rather than position themselves somehow…

    Reply
    • Avatar of Brandon H
      January 31, 2013 at 6:56 am
      Permalink

      I don’t think any company would publicly mark their lawyer as not understanding something in a situation like this; in fact, I presume Pocketables as an entity would do the same if they had to.

      Lawyers misspeak — and sometimes misrepresent — their clients all the time. And unless it’s something that ends up getting the company in legal trouble, a company rarely throws the lawyer under the bus.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Paul E King
        January 31, 2013 at 8:00 am
        Permalink

        All they have to do is say he misspoke and that distribution of Sense-based ROMs and RUUs to restore the phones back to normal is fine, matter would be over and done.

        As it stands they refuse to say they’re not going to crack down in a few weeks, months, etc on anyone hosting mods or tools

        Reply
  • Avatar of Paul E King
    January 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm
    Permalink

    so yeah, I’m reading the blog real time and they’re deleting comments from people complaining about S-ON, locked bootloaders, development issues.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont
      January 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm
      Permalink

      Wow. That’s pretty shady.

      I guess they want to keep it nice and squeaky clean. They don’t want another Carrier IQ shitstorm (pardon my language).

      Reply
      • Avatar of Simon Belmont
        January 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm
        Permalink

        Whoops. Meant “Carrier IQ styled shitstorm” above.

        Ah well. Move along.

        Reply
  • Avatar of Paul E King
    January 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm
    Permalink

    So, I saw one comment disappear complaining about S-ON/S-OFF

    Another three comments are awaiting moderation – mine, which includes a link to the pastebin Matt the HTC Lawyer

    Alex (Mazda) has been filtered awaiting moderation
    same with ol EDN and the evil army

    So that’s 4 out of 32 messages that are gone or not showing… I didn’t curse, neither did the S-ON guy… they’re really trying to put this fire out with gasoline

    *edit S-ON guy reappeared

    Reply
  • Avatar of Paul E King
    January 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm
    Permalink

    I guess another question I didn’t even think about is did HTC have anything to do with the Football RUU archives going down / his disappearance from the face of the net?

    I’d assume not, but to timining does lead to suspicion

    Reply
  • Avatar of jordan
    January 30, 2013 at 3:06 pm
    Permalink

    Why would I want to buy another HTC device after HTC abandoned the Jetstream, Delivers crappy OTAs, doesn’t support their once loyal buyers of the android community, and isn’t trying to make a come back? The HTC EVO 4G LTE will be my last HTC device.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Paul E King
    January 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm
    Permalink

    Over 2 hours awaiting moderation on one of my comments. Got a note from the moderator that he just has to verify links… the link in question goes to the full text of the emails…

    Less time would be taken approving the comment than writing to tell me that…

    Reply
  • Avatar of Samson
    January 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm
    Permalink

    EVO 4g LTE is it for HTC and I

    Reply
  • Avatar of Casey
    January 31, 2013 at 7:59 am
    Permalink

    I dont know, it sounds like maybe there was a miscommunication with HTC and the lawyer that sent the CnD to jmz. Or maybe HTC saw the backlash and are acting like that was the case. Either way, this statement does sound like they are supportive of the ROM community and are only making sure their work doesnt get confused with that of independent developers.

    Was pretty annoyed with HTC in 2012 but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt this year cause I think they’re gonna work hard to win us back.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Paul E King
      January 31, 2013 at 9:05 am
      Permalink

      yeah, being supportive without answering a couple of absurdly simple questions pretty much means they’re actively considering pulling the “it’s ours, we never said you could distribute it, yes we completely support development but not the distribution of development”

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.