SE has decided to charge for the network content when used for training AI according to an article. This has not been officially announced here, so we do not know the details.
But the main question to me is what the legal basis of this decision is. Here are the relevant parts of the terms of service as far as I can see:
You agree that any and all content, including without limitation any and all text, graphics, logos, tools, photographs, images, illustrations, software or source code, audio and video, animations, and product feedback (collectively, “Content”) that you provide to the public Network (collectively, “Subscriber Content”), is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Overflow on a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive basis pursuant to Creative Commons licensing terms (CC BY-SA 4.0), and you grant Stack Overflow the perpetual and irrevocable right and license to access, use, process, copy, distribute, export, display and to commercially exploit such Subscriber Content, even if such Subscriber Content has been contributed and subsequently removed by you as reasonably necessary to, for example (without limitation):
- Provide, maintain, and update the public Network
- Process lawful requests from law enforcement agencies and government agencies
- Prevent and address security incidents and data security features, support features, and to provide technical assistance as it may be required
- Aggregate data to provide product optimization
This means that you cannot revoke permission for Stack Overflow to publish, distribute, store and use such content and to allow others to have derivative rights to publish, distribute, store and use such content. The CC BY-SA 4.0 license terms are explained in further detail by Creative Commons, and the license terms applicable to content are explained in further detail here. You should be aware that all Public Content you contribute is available for public copy and redistribution, and all such Public Content must have appropriate attribution.
This grants SE permission to use the data, but "pursuant to Creative Commons licensing terms (CC BY-SA 4.0)".
The second part looks like a dual-license under a less restrictive license. The limitation of that license by a list that explicitly says it isn't a limitation is a bit odd, but maybe that is some standard legalese. It does not explicitly say "resell", but "commercially exploit" could cover that.
So does SE have the legal right to sell subscriber content under a license different than the CC license it was posted under? Can they essentially remove the attribution requirement whenever they want by relicensing the code?