You may split the project and create your own distributed pool, but you choose to reap no rewards from doing so (the first 0.5% fee), and without a bonus to the block finder (the other 0.5% fee).
The pool combines both fair share rewards and a finder's bonus to compete against other pools. The initiator has so far earned 0.75 BTC for his development and promotion efforts. If you feel this is too much for a system that eliminates centralized downtime (connectivity and stale issues) and centralized trust (delayed payments, locked funds) you should not use this pool.
An added benefit of p2pool is that all addresses receive funds from the generation transaction directly to their public key. This means until you spend those funds your funds are completely anonymous and untraceable.