Well, this first demands the question: what is a thing? If by "thing" you mean something that can be touched then no. I think it's the same as hardware and software. But people think as long as I can't touch it it's not stealing (digital piracy). That's the reason why there are patents. We are used to the concept of possession. With those patents you have a piece of paper that kinda 'materializes' your idea and gives you a feeling of owning/touching it.
On a different point of view, I think if you materialize your idea (manufacturing it) you don't make it "real", it's an an idea anymore (just like when you paint something: it's not an idea anymore, it's a painting). The same thing goes for the web: you don't make it a thing, you just visualize it but it ist still nothing you can touch, so it's not just a plain idea anymore.
I hope my thoughts are understandable. It's 4:30am here^^