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XDA vs Microsoft Redux: Hoax or Legit? (Update)

To refresh, back a few months some letters went out to XDA regarding their hosting of custom ROMs containing WM6.5.  Then it appeared to many of us that this was some hoax, specifically the legitimacy of one "James Young"...internet investigator! (dun dun...dun!) came into question.

Flash forward a few months and replace WM6.5 with WM6.5.1 and we get a (redacted) letter basically saying the same thing.

Real or fake?

We think this is fake, again.  Unless Microsoft has radically changed its position on this issue from a few months ago, we see no reason to believe these threats.  Once again, we cite Microsoft from March:

“Taking action against sites such as XDA-Developers isn’t a matter of concern for Microsoft” says Maarten Sonneveld of Microsoft Netherlands against tweakers.net. “What happens there, the modifying of ROMs, is illegal. The intellectual property however is not with us. The ROMs are intellectual property of the producers of the phone or the mobile phone providers if it concerns branded telephones. We simple only deliver the OS.”

Going further and across the pond, we note that PPCGeeks has not received any such notice regarding WM6.5.1, which seems pretty lame for a "clamp down" (although we suppose that some fake letters could be sent out right-quick).

Our advice? Treat this seriously, but not too seriously.  How to do that?  Simple: if your receive a "take down notice" from...some dude via email, we strongly suggest you actually get in contact with that person BY PHONE and request official information (who they represent, names, more phone numbers, etc.) before you rip down your hard work. 

Most DMCA notices target the ISP who then contact you, as you are not actually hosting the alleged offending file. If they don't even know your real name, you don't have too much to worry about.

Update: Mike (Wideawake) of PPCGeeks let us know that indeed, months ago they too had a request from Microsoft to take down WM6.5 but...he actually had a phone call from a Judy Weston at Microsoft and his ISP received a take-down notice.  That is what one should expect in these situations.  Thanks Mike!

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

5 Comments
  • Some people will do anything for attention. This guy just wants to see what kind of damage he can cause. Probably fried his PPC trying an upgrade and wants to get back at the world for his loss. If we don't talk about it it wont happen will it Malatesta if that's your real name. lol :)
  • :-P
  • Can you imagine if you couldn't upgrade your computer to Windows 7. And if you then were forced to buy a new computer with Windows 7 preinstalled in order to get Windows 7. I think there would be a few people pretty irrate. Sure it is a better experience for the novice if they buy Windows 7 preinstalled rather than to deal with an upgrade. But everyone has different needs and abilities. If we wouldn't expect Windows 7 to not be available in upgrade software only why is it so different to feel that our smartphones should be any different? With a smartphone you are tied into a 2 year contract before you can upgrade. In those 2 years a lot could happen. Does this mean that you are forced to perhaps skip a version of Windows Mobile in that time period? This would be ridiculous. So XDA Developers fills the need for the enthusiast. Those enthusiasts in turn pitch and recommend Windows Mobile to their friends and family and cooworkers. You kill the enthusiats reason for loving a device and then you kiss everything else goodbye. I believe that Microsoft is in a love hate relationship with XDA and that is the way that it should stay for the benefit of both sides. This James Young is a fake. Everyone pay no mind and continue what you have all ben doing so well. Props to Microsoft for creating WM and for their future work on WM 7 which we all hope is all that and a bag of chips, and props to XDA community for being like no other in the smartphone arena of enthusiasts.
  • My post received the same taken down notice from microsoft a month ago.
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=554866
  • Did you ever contact them directly? Get something in writing? Speak to someone at Microsoft or a lawyer? Do they know your name and personal information? I just find all of this to be non-believable. So what if you didn't comply, what are they going to do? They don't know your address, your name, personal information, etc. That's why the Web host gets the Takedown notice--*they* are liable for hosting, not you. The most XDA could do to you is ban your account, like a warez case. If i were you, I would put your work back up and tell them to blow.