As usual, Jay said it well. But if painting brick is a mortal sin, it's a shame they have to wait to get their just reward--having to strip the paint off.
One tip is to visit the Citristrip site at www.citristrip.com. This is a non-toxic, biodegradeable product and if you will check the "Ask The Pro's" section, you will find a thread for a competing product (don't remember the name right off). Following that lead will get you some good info on removing paint from brick.