I think they're encouraging creativity if anything. I mean, people are always on the hunt for originality, so will want to look for new ways of toying with fonts, and trying new fonts altogether in some cases. I think it's pushing the boundaries for people who want to create their own unique typefaces too.
That said, I have seen many pieces of work floating around the net which destroy my theory, where certain uncredited tutorials have flourished the design world. However, anybody who has visited a few websites can soon spot these clone designs a mile off. I'm all for inspiring techniques, but some people have just plagiarised, which is an ugly occurrence in the industry.
On the whole though, I think free fonts offer people an alternative, and it's up to people on how they use them.