After semi-exclusive deal with Showtime, Smithsonian and Corbis enter media deal

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The Smithsonian Institution and Corbis Corp. announced a deal Wednesday to begin selling images from the Smithsonian's collections for editorial and commercial use through the digital media company.

Under the licensing agreement, Corbis will provide hundreds of images from the Smithsonian museums, including archival photos and images of cultural objects, paintings, sculptures, aircraft and space vehicles. A photograph of the 45.52 carat Hope Diamond is among the first images being made available on the company's Web site.

Smithsonian officials said they hope the agreement with Corbis will make museum resources more easily accessible and offer some images in a digital format for the first time.

"We expect this partnership will foster a stronger global awareness of the institution and its archives and generate important revenue that supports its educational mission," Gary Beer, chief executive officer of Smithsonian Business Ventures, said in a statement.

There is no guaranteed annual revenue under the deal, and Corbis did not provide any money up front, said Smithsonian spokeswoman Samia Elia. Licensing fees charged for each image would go back into the museum's educational programs. The royalties from image sales vary each year, she said. No other financial terms were disclosed.

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