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HTC slaps phone firmware site with cease and desist letter

Chris Ziegler
June 17, 2010
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You might be familiar with firmware impresario Conflipper by now, a man who's earned a reputation tearing apart ROMs -- often for unreleased devices -- and pulling out the juicy bits for everyone to see. Turns out the dude runs a site called Shipped ROMs with... yes, you guessed it, a bunch of shipped ROMs for a wide variety of phones on it, and it seems HTC's legal cats in Taiwan have taken issue, saying they've got "very strong reasons to believe that the HTC Intellectual Property was illegally obtained by fraudulent means" in a strongly-worded cease and desist letter sent to him earlier today. We reached out to HTC's US branch for comment and got back the following:

"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."
In other words, these guys are just really against hosting official ROMs on unofficial servers. Anyone can dump a ROM from a phone and flesh it out, so we can't imagine there's any competitive concern -- and no first-party site makes so many firmware builds available for so many devices in such a concise, well-organized way as Shipped ROMs is doing. Ultimately, it's HTC's property -- it seems like they're probably in the legal right here -- but the unsavory PR effect with some of the company's staunchest enthusiasts makes the endeavor more trouble than it's worth, we'd argue. Tread carefully, HTC.


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