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Huh? If you believe in Imaginary Property, you own the copyright to your code until you get paid.

He won't be trusted with sensitive projects that he doesn't get paid for.

Do you mean intellectual property?

It would be defined in the contract, but usually the contractors never own the copyright to code written for other people.

Anyway, I agree with the other comments that this is unprofessional and immature. We have a civil court system to deal with these kind of issues.

We also have a banking system to deal with these kinds of issues. The client should have payed.

Lawyers say the legal system has its limitations and that not every morally legitimate gripe has a legal remedy.

Your comment reminds me of the typical objection, why crackdown on these evildoers instead of these worse evildoers? Why not both?

Was the jurisdiction of the contract mentioned?

Good point, I assumed this is in the US.

assume differently

> usually the contractors never own the copyright to code written for other people.

Under the terms of the contract that's now void due to non-payment?

That's not really how contracts work. A contract is only "void" if it contains something fundamentally illegal, or if someone was forced to sign it. And that would be determined in court, not automatically.

The guy who promised to pay is breaching the contract by not paying, and the contractor's recourse is to sue him in civil court for the money.

That depends very much on the terms of the contract and how the rights to the work were approached. If the rights were only to transfer upon payment, or not at all, then this action is entirely appropriate.

It sounds very much like this was a freelancer creating a product, not a contractor providing work.

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