Hmmm I've seen it happen on the site though. I'm seeing a lot of no, but then I'm confused. Many artists have prints of their fan arts. Unless not under DA rules? Or only under commissions? I don't know...
I saw it was old. Eheh, but felt compelled to reply to it. ^ ^;; But like you I'm also curious. Not that I'm anywhere near possibly venturing here but it makes me curious since I see it and always wonder how they do that.
It's very unwise legally speaking to attempt to sell fanart. As fanartists, we already walk a fine line when it comes to copyright law. Most companies, like Disney, aren't gonna waste their time going after every fanartist who posts stuff for the love of it, but the minute you make a profit off their product -- that's where the legal issues get sticky FOR YOU. Take, for example, the student produced Harry Potter musical put on at U of M in Ann Arbor. Warner Bros. was perfectly happy to let them put their play on for free -- but that was the caveat. They couldn't charge for tickets. They can't even sell the music they wrote and composed because the characters and situations in the songs are the property of Warner Brothers.
It's best for any fanartist to forget about making money from what they do, unless they manage to make it on the payroll of the company that owns the copyright to whatever characters they draw. To do anything else would be courting, pardon my French, a shit-storm.
Nope. DA admins won't let you. They're very conscious that this site could get in tons of trouble if they tried the same thing some artists at cons do. Because fanartists make up a significant portion of their user base -- they have to find a way to make the artists happy but also protect themselves from lawsuits.
I mean, most copyright holders are pretty lenient when it comes to fan-made stuff. If you encourage a fandom, you encourage those fans to buy your stuff. But that goodwill only extends so far. DA could get shutdown or they could discontinue the fanart category if they allowed anyone to profit from fanart.
Frankly, I'd rather not see either situation. But it is something that could happen. I mean, no one wants to believe that a piddly little fanartist is a threat to anything. But look what happened with music downloads and the RIAA. If you shake the tree enough times, something bad is gonna happen. I'm glad DA is protecting us all by not allowing it.
That'd make me pretty mad as well. Especially since a individual artist doesn't have near the power a big corporation does. I've had my art stolen a couple of times and it's irritating enough when the thieves aren't even making anything off of it but adulation. It'd be even more irritating if they were profiting from it.
I believe, if you look into it, there are ways you can have a more permanent copyright. DA offers some protection, but I believe you can file for actual copyright. It's a bit expensive, but worth it if you can work up the scratch to pay for it.