Just for your entertainment: There is a guy, George Duckett, who webscraped most SE sites and "published" the content into "books". Now he also has one for Economics, and if you have answered some questions you will likely find yourself within!
I got a response from the SE team member animuson it doesnt seem like its an issue.
His books get brought up several times a year, but there is nothing inherently wrong with them. Our license does not forbid the use of the content in commercial works so long as the usual attribution requirements are followed, which he does in every book he publishes.
Update April 19, 2018
The license used by SE is https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode.
In this license we read: (in Definitions)
<<d. "Distribute" means to make available to the public the original and copies of the Work or Adaptation, as appropriate, through sale or other transfer of ownership>>
And later on we read
<<3. License Grant. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, Licensor hereby grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright) license to exercise the rights in the Work as stated below: ... c. to Distribute and Publicly Perform the Work including as incorporated in Collections; and, d. to Distribute and Publicly Perform Adaptations.>>
So the CC-license used by SE clearly allows for commercial exploitation of the SE content by anybody, and royalty-free.
To be exact we read, immediately after:
e. For the avoidance of doubt:
i. Non-waivable Compulsory License Schemes. In those jurisdictions in which the right to collect royalties through any statutory or compulsory licensing scheme cannot be waived, the Licensor reserves the exclusive right to collect such royalties for any exercise by You of the rights granted under this License;
ii. Waivable Compulsory License Schemes. In those jurisdictions in which the right to collect royalties through any statutory or compulsory licensing scheme can be waived, the Licensor waives the exclusive right to collect such royalties for any exercise by You of the rights granted under this License; and,
iii. Voluntary License Schemes. The Licensor waives the right to collect royalties, whether individually or, in the event that the Licensor is a member of a collecting society that administers voluntary licensing schemes, via that society, from any exercise by You of the rights granted under this License.>>
In plain words: "You, and we mean anybody, go on and try to make a handsome profit off our volunteer's contributions here. If they are not obliged by law to demand royalties, they have automatically waived their right to royalties."
I like the way SE encourages entrepreneurship.
Here is the interpretation of the CC license terms taken by the SE network. In particular,
If you republish this content, we require that you:
- Visually indicate that the content is from Stack Overflow or the Stack Exchange network in some way. It doesn’t have to be obnoxious; a discreet text blurb is fine.
- Hyperlink directly to the original question on the source site (e.g., http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12345)
- Show the author names for every question and answer
- Hyperlink each author name directly back to their user profile page on the source site (e.g., http://stackoverflow.com/users/12345/username)
Looking (through non-lawyer's eyes) at the legal text of the license, there seems to be some room for interpretation about whether all of these can really be required, depending on the medium in question. The "book" seems to comply only with points 1 and 3.