Just a couple of observations.
1) Nobody seems to really read the footer anyway
2) I have seen many "blogs" on WordPress.COM for people that are know world wide - some have domain mapping and most have the no ads upgrade and don't seem to have a problem with the footer.
So if it works for say Johnathan Turley and others why are minor players so upset and threatened by the footer?
I think one person actually read the footer on my site and ask about it (they knew about WordPress.COM, but thought WordPress.COM was only for "free blogs") - my reply was that WordPress.COM was one of the biggest hosts in the world and includes CNN, Ford Motor and many radio stations, and that I went to one of the largest and most reliable hosts - when all was said and done they thought my domain mapping solution and not being a system admin was a great idea.