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@Jina: Thanks for the reminder that work isn’t simply about putting food on the table and a roof over the head.

@Andrew Crookston: It’s apparent you don’t understand the music industry at all. You think it takes “3 days” to write, learn, record, and market a song? You think that musicians are “filthy stinking rich”??? You think that the record companies are honest about sales figures and pay the proper amount of royalties? You think that recording contracts are to the advantage of musicians and not the record companies? There are a HANDFUL of musicians who are “filthy stinking rich”, just like there are a HANDFUL of stinking rich fiction writers (Stephen King and JK Rowling, for example. The rest need “day jobs”).

Do layout artists get royalties on brochures, newsletters, and publications? Do logo designers get royalties on each time their logo shows up? Do programmers get royalties? (they don’t – they are under a “work for hire” clause, just like engineers – who don’t see a penny from any patents developed while working for a company, either)

Fine artists and illustrators can get royalties, or repeatedly sell the same image multiple times, depending on the rights they allow to go with a sale. But, again, how many fine artists are stinking rich in their lifetimes?

You, if you are a freelancer, are perfectly within your rights to keep ownership of your intellectual property, but just like music nowadays, someone clever can read your code and “download it” and use it themselves, without paying you one cent. Just like people are doing with music these days. You have to trust that there are enough people out there who like what you do and are honest enough to pay you for your work. Just like musicians.

And, might the developers of the web standards not turn around and claim you are creating “derivative works” from their material and demand royalties from you and everyone who views web pages created with HTML or CSS or JavaScript or Java or whatever?