I like this line of thought Craig ... great ideas.
In terms of us, well ... heck, if they want to borrow my code off the page, they can. It still won`t give them our company. What makes us, well, us is the unique way in which my artist and I have learned to work together. So you can steal the code all you want, but it`s still not going to make you better sites.
This gets me to the point of opensource. Many people now give away their code because more gets done with it. An example of this is APIs ... like Flickr started handing out their API and look at all the cool things
you can do now. It really only made the Flickr service better and more popular. Same thing with handing out Google API, PayPal API, Amazon API, and pretty much any opensource software ... the original brand becomes more powerful because they can get people to develop new things for them, FOR FREE, and spread their tools around the world with some pretty awesome viral marketing.
It also makes the original thing better as a whole. Like suddenly the original product is 20x better because other people tweaked it, hacked it, and made it better.
The make it your own concept is becoming pretty strong nowadays. A friend of mine is building this thing call the chumby
that you can make into anything you want - and every one is unique because it`s uniquely yours. By opening up your technology, you`re creating a loyal fan base, customers for life, a better product, more reach for your brand ... YOU NAME IT!
My personal thing is that I don`t believe in patenting my graphics, logo, whatever. Having a patent means they stay the same. I don`t want to sit still. I want fresh content and continual revision. I think patents for web site material just invites stagnation. I know most people might not see if that way, but what can I say? I`m a developer in the e-generation. Steal my tagline? It doesn`t matter, I have another 10 in my head to keep you guessing.
I`d never be so dumb as to say we have a monopoly on what we do. There`s tons of webdevs in the sea! I`ll just stick with "they don`t matter because we do it best".