HTC Issues Cease & Desist to Hackers for Cooked ROMs

There’s nothing like grabbing a cooked ROM for Android and loading it up onto your device for some that fresh feeling goodness. We all know how irritating it can be when there are delays on getting our updates, even if they’re delayed for good reason. So the hacker community has always been quick to the rescue with hacked ROMs so that we can update our handsets before the new versions of an OS is officially available. It’s all been fine and dandy until HTC decided it was time for it to stop.

The site Shipped-ROMs just received a cease and desist letter from HTC, where the Taiwanese manufacturer says that those ROMs are illegal copies of HTC’s “artwork” – whatever that means – and should not be distributed. Perhaps HTC didn’t have a better way to frame it than to call it art, and I’m not quite sure exactly what it’s referring to, but whatever works.

HTC definitely acted with the quickness here as Shipped-ROMs is only about a month old. I can’t remember the last time XDA Developers ever getting a slap on the wrist, or so quickly. See below for HTC’s cease and desist letter and let us know if you think this is going a little overboard, or whether HTC has a case in protecting its intellectual property. Oh, and uh, try not to pay too much attention to the confidentiality note on the bottom stating that the following e-mail is privileged and confidential.

From: XXXXXXXXX

Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2010 2:50 PM

To: ‘[email protected]

Cc: XXXXXXXXXX

Subject: Cease and Desist Letter of HTC ROMs posted on your website

Importance: High

Dear Sir or Madam:

I write to you on behalf of HTC Corporation (“HTC”), a Taiwanese company with a global business, who is the owner of certain intellectual property (“HTC¡¦s Intellectual Property”).  It is our understanding that you are responsible for the hosting of an internet webpage located at http://shipped-roms.com (the “Site¡¨).  HTC has also recently learned that the Site contains software/ROM related to HTC¡¦s Intellectual Property which entails illegal copying of HTC¡¦s original art work.

We have very strong reasons to believe that the HTC Intellectual Property was illegally obtained by fraudulent means.  The subject dissemination and publication of HTC¡¦s Intellectual Property is in clear violation of HTC¡¦s legal rights and is an infringement of the HTC¡¦s copyrights, goodwill, as well as the other intellectual rights.  The continuing distribution of HTC¡¦s Intellectual Property without authorization has constituted a serious criminal offence under the Copyright Act in the U.S. and the EU and other countries where similar laws are enforced.

As you would expect, HTC is the owner and the use of the copyrighted work described above has not been authorized by the owner.  By publishing and displaying the Intellectual Property on the Site, you, as the publisher, along with the information source are infringing HTC¡¦s Intellectual Property rights, including but not limited to causing HTC irreparable harm.

For the above reasons, HTC requests that you immediately remove the Intellectual Property from the Site or of all infringing works derived from the Intellectual Property.  You shall desist from this or any other infringement of HTC¡¦s rights in the future.

The above information is true and correct. If we have not received an affirmative response from you within two weeks indicating that you have fully complied with these requirements, we shall take further legal action, and pursue all means necessary to protect HTC¡¦s legal and equitable rights.  HTC reserves all its rights against you, including legal and equitable remedies.

Best regards,

Legal Counsel

HTC Corporation

No.23, Xinghua Rd.,

Taoyaun City, Taoyuan County 330,

Taiwan

Tel: +886-3-375-3252 Ext.6157

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTE : The information in this e-mail is confidential and privileged; it is intended for use solely by the individual or entity named as the recipient hereof. Disclosure, copying, distribution, or use of the contents of this e-mail by persons other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited and may violate applicable laws. If you have received this e-mail in error, please delete the original message and notify us by return email or collect call immediately. Thank you. HTC Corporation

[Via: MobileCrunch]

  • YigBong

    Wow

  • Rusty Watts

    LOL, screw em, gonna take a LOT more than some stupid letter from some pompous windbag bottom feeding attorney to stop that racket. LOL thats too funny.

  • Zacharias

    HTC said in a statement to Engadget or Slashdot (I don't remember which) that stated they have a "hands off" approach to hackers – unless they are simple copying HTC software and providing it as-is.

    Shipped-roms = the roms the phones they came with, not the hacked-awesome-xda-kinda roms.

  • Steven

    Ah yes, coming from a country that likes to pirate things like there's no tomorrow. Once the tables are slightly switched they get ticked.

  • Greg

    The whole point of android was to have an open environment in which everyone has a chance to add, remove and improve upon with sharing back into the community. You paid for your phone and its your phone and you can do what you want with it. If I buy shoes from Nike and change the laces Nike would be crazy to tell me I can't do that because it's ruining the "art" of the shoe. Obviously when HTC signed with Google to make these phones they didn't realize the kind of feedback they'd get. I think HTC, Moto, and AT&T have some wrong perceptions about android. First Moto and AT&T gimp the Backflip and soon the Aria (which people are gonna crack pretty soon anyway) and now HTC is crying about this. I really hope Google doesn't bend to this or the whole idea and backing Android has gained will be lost to the rest of the locked out software devices. This is starting to sound like Apple's fight with hackers all over again.

  • PumpkiN

    epic confidentiality note.. ;)

  • cantormath

    Post the roms on torrent sites if you must. It is Linux based, how does HTC stop people from distributing changes to the software?

    • wtphoto

      your are correct and at the same time wrong. Yes android IS linux based and is open source so they have no recourse to stop the ditribution of android, However HTC sense is a propritary UI and is not subject to the GPL and IS their intilectual property. Now that that is said, I actually just sent an open letter via e-mail to HTC stating that if they really get down to it they are doing the exact same thing that they are accusing this person of, Because there is still Kernel source code that they have not released like for the sprint hero 2.6.29 kernel and the sprint evo kernel then they themselves are distributing illegal software and have no right or claim leagaly. You can not claim that your copywirte has been infinged upon while you are infringing on someone elses.

  • Rrr

    Copy Left

  • Gerhard

    If HTC would actually provide updates to their clients this sort of thing wouldn't happen. I'm a Hero GSM owner and don't even get me started with how disgusted I am with this company about this very fact.. My next phone will be an Android, but definitely not a HTC!

  • Scott

    HTC needs to use better materials and have a higher build quality of finished products before they go telling people to not crack their handsets software.

  • guest

    @ cantormath

    I am no legal expert and could very easily be wrong about this but maybe because it is based on Linux is why they stated "artwork" and left the software subject alone. I do not have an android based phone but i would assume there would be artwork designed by htc used in the ROM.

  • Spot

    It actually doesn't say whether they mean the Windows Mobile or Android based ROMs. Clarification would be helpful.

  • Matt

    didn't HTC also post a letter saying they support the chef/modding community in general? I think they have a problem with this specific site.

  • The Iceman

    Wait aren't they supposed to not be like Apple?

  • burn0u7

    I think the CEO of HTC was touched inappropriately by the owner of shipped-roms.. The reason for the letter is not because people are cooking roms, its cause he wants the owner of shipped-roms to touch him again.

    yeah HTC update your shit once in a while then we wouldnt have to sit here and update it for you. Dont cry about it when we do your jobs. whimpering faggots. If it werent for the hacker community we'd never see updates or cool new features.

  • ToAsTcfh

    who find it funny that htc would raise hell about this?! HTC is the same company that wait 9 months to release kernel source for their devices, after the sell them to the public. HTC has a bunch of douche bags who wanna get mad because the community beat them to an update every time. i mean really, i had a Sprint HeroC that i managed to not only port 2.1 to before HTC released it. but also reverse engineer the kernel source and forward port it to .29 before the official 2.1 was released from HTC/Sprint. still to this day the HeroC does not have .29 kernel source from HTC. the only .29 kernel source availible for the HeroC is my reverse engineered source (which is fully functional and has audio and other driver fixes that HTC still hasnt been able to do. HTC can kis my ass. we all wait for HTC to release something for our devices and we all get let down when were waiting 9 months to get it. but thanx to the great development community we dont have to stand in line like cattle.

  • Dennis

    Typical of detached corporate types. Not recognizing that this is the kind of thing that helps sales of their phones to the very people that heavily influence others to purchase the same. Instead of irreparably harming them they are tremendously helping them. One of the biggest frustrations of using Android is getting timely updates when new versions of the OS comes out. This eliminates that problem and makes using their phones much more desirable! All at no cost to HTC. I am always amazed at the ability of so many companies to shoot themselves in the foot. Unreal….

  • Andre

    It's probably for HTC Sense that comes with some HTC phones. Android is open source and they can not stop the site from distributing Android, it's all the proprietary modifications that they have made to Android that they don't want this site to distribute. Fair enough, who needs HTC Sense anyway?

  • Denis

    Well, I own an HTC Hero and I’m very happy with it… except for HTC support…

    I’ve the bad luck to live in Belgium… Belgian HTC version is trimmed down (no youtube app) and as such, don’t use one of the standard european ROM… So, people in Europe are starting to get the preliminary update but not in Belgium…

    And, even worse, HTC said it won’t support the Hero past 2.1 (no 2.2 with it’s nice speed improvements). Hero don’t have much memory and has a slow processor, the 2.2 functionnalities like saving applications to SD and speed acceleration would be even more welcome than on other (more recent) models.

    So, I rooted it… That way, I know that I’ll be able to update it to 2.2 when hackers will get that ROM out… As a nice extra, I get back the youtube player and don’t have to wait for weeks before being running 2.1.

    HTC create great hardware, they should let open the door to hackers for products that they don’t intent to support anymore… that way, they won’t have to work on these anymore and the people will still get the updates…

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