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DeviantArt blends in Fotolia stock-art business

Through a partnership with microstock site Fotolia, the 15 million artists using the DeviantArt sharing and social network gain the ability to sell their works.

DeviantArt mascot

DeviantArt, a social network used by 15 million artists, is adding a commercial component through a partnership with stock-art sales site Fotolia.

Under the partnership, DeviantArt members have options both to license Fotolia imagery for their own use and to sell their own works through Fotolia's system, the companies plan to announce today.

Some aspects of the partnership haven't been hammered out, but DeviantArt wants to launch special collections for those who want a more flavorful departure from traditional microstock imagery. The site also hopes to channel a larger fraction of the resulting revenue to artists than is traditional for microstock companies. Last, DeviantArt hopes to secure "great pricing" when its members license Fotolia imagery.

The partnership spotlights the growing maturity and scale of the distributed mechanisms for selling creative works on the Internet. Another example: Getty Images, the largest stock supplier, has a partnership to use imagery found at Yahoo's Flickr site for photo sharing.

The two worlds don't necessarily mesh perfectly, of course.

"What a commercial stock house does and what a liberated free-sharing artist community does are completely different. That's understood," DeviantArt founder and Chief Executive Angelo Sotiro said in a June blog post announcing DeviantArt's planned exploration of commercial partnerships. "At the same time, what a commercial stock offering provides--like money to artists, access to standard use agreements that can be transferred to clients, focused search for items and tracking the people using the content--is a package that goes past artist exchanges."