Our friends at HTChub.com got unpleasantly surprised by French authorities this week demanding an HTC One S unit back from the blog.
According to phonearena and Androidandme the popular HTC blog inquired with HTC France’s PR firm Butterscoth to get a review unit of the HTC One S. They were apparently told they would not get a review unit until after the official French release of the device next week.
Rather than waiting, HTChub purchased an HTC One S from a confidential source.
More after the break
Typically blogs like ours and HTChub get review units a few weeks before launch. When we receive them we are sometimes put under embargo which means in exchange for getting the device (or sometimes information) early, we agree not to publish anything until a certain date. This gives us time to do an adequate review and the PR people the ability to control the information flow.
Since HTChub acquired their device from a confidential source and not from HTC France or the PR company, there was no embargo to honor.
When a site breaks an embargo they typically lose the trust of the PR folks for that company and are sometimes forced to send the device back. In some rare instances they may get served with a Cease and Desist demanding the article be taken down. The authorities swooping in and taking a device back is rare.
HTChub was found out because they used the device for an unboxing video.
It’s unclear what, if any legal ramifications they may face. The issue should be with the source of the device and not the blog.