I think a few of you are focusing in a bit too much on the original poster's claim that Steam is not DRM and disregarding the intent of their post: Steam does not require the Steam client to run every time a game within Steam is run. Essentially, what that means, is that there are two 'levels' of Steam 'DRM':
Steam is used to download and install the game client, providing updates and other features like achievements, cloud saving, et cetera. This is the way most games use Steam, starting the Steam client (if it is not already started) when running the game, even from the game's executable.
Steam is used to download and install the game client as well as providing updates, but is not otherwise required to run when the game's executable is running. This means that you can run the game, from a shortcut for example, and it does not start Steam. This is the option the original poster is talking about.
Some folks have mentioned that in order to have features like achievements and cloud saving, the first option (running Steam alongside the game) is required. I do not know if this is true, but, if it is, I think it answers the original question. That is, making Steam copies "DRM free" (option two, and there seems to be contention as to whether it still counts as DRM) will disable the previously mentioned features that seem to be the impetus for (or at least a substantial benefit of) having it on Steam in the first place.
I can't seem to find a definitive answer as to whether the first option is required for the extra features, but, if it isn't, then I agree with the original poster and think allowing us the flexibility of running the game without Steam (while still enabling the extra features) seems to be a strictly superior option.
tl;dr: Whether or not Steam is or isn't DRM, it is possible to have a game through Steam that does not require Steam to run concurrently. Does anyone know if enabling this option precludes using the cloud saving/achievement features?