Once upon a time I asked the x264 people if I could ship the x264 installer inside a bundle of software I was selling.
note: I didnt ship it, I politely asked if that would be ok.
The answer I got back was, in short 'That makes your whole system GPL, please give us your details so we can pass them to our lawyers'
Now, I thought that was a little crazy, so, again, I politely asked why they thought that would apply if I did ship their installer.
'You have linked our code as a core part of your system, therefore you are a derivative system, send us your details immediately!'
Again, I asked 'that seems very odd, I certainly wont be using your system at all, however could you please tell me why you think that a piece
of software that the end user will install, that is only accessed through windows Directshow standard interfaces would make my software derivative?'
I was told to direct that question to my own lawyers, since 'they do not provide free legal advice', and again asked to provide my details to THEIR lawyers.
Needless to say, I never, ever, EVER used x264, or recommended it to my users.
The only reason I was asking to include it was to save them downloading it if they needed to read those particular video formats - and had exactly
zero intention of making any changes at all (of course, I was intending to distribute an exact normal distribution)
Sad really, and completely unnecessary.
Funnily enough I heard from others that the x264 people consider providing users with a button that automatically DOWNLOADS the same installer and runs
'no problem', and that they didnt consider x264 libraries in linux distributions being used by a plethora of other software to legally taint those with GPL
requirements, but they considered any shipping of an installer on windows as one.. hmmm.
I hope they enjoyed their power trip - but it just wasnt worth the legal battle/risk. I wonder if all the x264 contributors realised their contributions
were being used as a political hammer in such a way.