It's both. If you believe in freedom you should not try to promote patents, intellectual property and proprietary formats/software. The concept of property itself goes against the concepts of sharing and freedom...
Debian is very clear on this and their policy is extremely strict. Ubuntu in a lesser extent are clear on it too. Because Debian and Ubuntu already give you the "clean" and "free" choices.. we don't feel too bad about being the bad guys, and including all these "dirty" stuff.
If you think of it, it's a bit like Redbull. It's not legal everywhere, it's full of bad stuff, but it gives you wings
Water is much better for you, although you'd probably prefer coke..
The ideal situation is for you not to need it. But as long as people will use MP3, Flash, and technologies for which the open-source equivalents are not good enough, it is important that choice be provided, so that people can decide themselves if they prefer to value ethics or if they just want to be comfortable.
It's a very controversial subject of course. I hope I answered your question somehow..