<i>Well, seeing as everyone is required to license their art with the CC "Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic" license, doesn't that prohibit sales?</i>
Yup. But it doesn't preclude asking for new permissions for each individual picture a museum or NGO is interested in. This is one option, but we're also working on (I think) a better option.
Right now, my lab is testing a scenario where new art is directly commissioned (and paid for) for use on the website as well as permission granted for printed decks to be sold. Here, revenue generated is contracted for educational purposes only (i.e. like for the museum's outreach programs, etc). Ultimately, this means that there's a mechanism for high quality decks to be printed (which could also control things like rarity), and that the decks can be especially relevant for the host organization (i.e. the museum might focus on an exhibit or local ecosystems). The big question we're trying to get a feel for: is what is a fair price to pay artists for this art, and how feasible is it for a museum to recoup costs (and in what kind of timeframe), so that hopefully everyone - including biodiversity - wins?!?
Our initial pilot is with the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver. Based on feedback with various illustrators, we're working with a $200 per image number (seemed to be a number in the middle of all the different numbers we heard), with a deck needing about 25 to 30 images (i.e. a total commitment of $5000 to $6000). This number seems to be reasonable right now (the artists we're working with have all agreed to it and seem pretty psyched to be involved).
The best case scenario is that the decks do so well, we can make a stronger case to pay artists even more for their work, but we'll have to see how it goes. Plus, this might depend on the museum - the Beaty, for instance, doesn't get a lot of traffic so it may take a while. Anyway, the Beaty deck should be ready by April/May of next year, but for now, I'm hoping to post something at the phylo site in the next week or so to bring everybody up to speed on this part of the project.
For now, do let me know if there are any other groups that might be interested in also having a go at this "printed deck" idea!