Openness is a distruptive concept in the fields of knowledge (wikipedia), content (creative commons), applications (open source software), services (open APIs) and people (crowdsourcing and community contribution).

The open phenomenon is based on people contributing their time and energy to projects for free (at the point of contribution). Their reward may be tangible though indirect (consulting or support revenues generated off the back of their contribution) or non-tangible (respect in the community, the power to shape the direction of the project).

Can and should open work be exploited?

The word exploitation is used in a number of contexts. The exploitation of people by a dominant class describes the unfair use or mistreatment of the former by the latter. Economic exploitation (both organisational and structural) is a subset, where one person's labour is used by another without without 'adequate compensation'.

Technology exploitation is more humane; it points to the development, commercialisation and marketing of a technology in order to see return on the investment made during its innovation.

Open material licenses (Wikipedia, software, content and services from Yahoo!, Guardian Open platform") offer those who invest their time in creating some-thing some-level of protection.