Apple is well known for its battles against George Hotz, the iPhone Dev Team, and legions of other iPhone hackers. By contrast Android's team members -- Google and hardware partners (HTC, Motorola, Samsung, etc.) have taken a much more hands off approach, even as hackers found ways to gain root access and install and port unavailable new builds of Android.
One key resource to Android hackers has been Conflipper's site Shipped ROMs, which offers a number of ROM dumps for released and unreleased Android devices. Now Taiwanese Android handset manufacturer HTC have sent a cease and desist letter to Conflipper telling him that they have "very strong reasons to believe that the HTC Intellectual Property was illegally obtained by fraudulent means."
HTC also wrote a public statement, commenting:
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.
Ultimately HTC seems well within its legal rights in what amounts to essentially insisting that Shipped ROMs cease operations. Shipped ROMs is hosting official ROMs (protected by copyright) on unofficial servers.
That said, one of the things that has made Android the symbol of freedom and choice in the smart phone market has been its softer touch when it comes to modding. If HTC makes good on its threats and moves legally to shut down Shipped ROMs, not only will one of the best sources of Android firmware be lost, but also much of the leaked info that has been driving the excitement and hot Android launch sales will be lost as well.