We have regulars that offer free WordPess themes. Some make them, others distribute them.

Obviously people prefer to be compensated for their time and effort.

So this raises the question... what benefit accrues to the maker of free WP themes?
  1. Is it a free link in the footer?
  2. Is it a foot in the door to provide paid themes that have more functionality?
  3. Is it the ability to forcefeed something into the code that the user didn't agree to?

So my question is... are free WP themes safe? Ever? Like to hear your thoughts.