Digital Media Licensing Association Launches Special Real Estate Photographers Membership

October 1st, 2017


Last week, Brian Balduf, the CEO and co-founder of VHT Studios, contacted me about the fact that the Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA) is launching a registration drive encouraging real estate photographers to join their association.

Brian’s company, VHT, is one of the biggest real estate photography companies in the US and they recently won a suit against Zillow. Zillow was found guilty of willful copyright infringement by a jury and ordered to pay over four million dollars to VHT Studios in statutory damages.

Brian says:

Real estate photographers will benefit from the valuable resources that DMLA has to offer. The chance for the thousands of individual photographers and small companies to come together under one organization to protect our rights and those of our clients is very exciting. We appreciate the DMLA stepping up to help with this very important issue for so many parties. We look forward to working with all of our counterparts in the industry in this effort.

As a DMLA member, real estate photographers can work within the DMLA structure to help establish and communicate licensing guidelines that benefit all interested parties as well as provide some common language around standard uses and restrictions. DMLA has been advocating on behalf of photographers and digital media licensors to protect copyright for more than 60 years.

Membership provides photographers a much stronger voice, as an industry, to direct and enforce the usage of the Intellectual property they create. Even the real estate agents who photograph their own listings will benefit from DMLA’s services. Real estate photographers can join DMLA as Associate Members for $350 per year while larger real estate photography companies will join as General Members at an annual fee based on the size of the company.

Many readers will recognize this as an idea that Joel Rothman raised over a year ago. I think it’s a great idea! You can join at

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9 Responses to “Digital Media Licensing Association Launches Special Real Estate Photographers Membership”

  • For those on a limited budget, I would suggest that trade organizations specific to photographers, such as the ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) or the APA (Amercian Photographic Artists) are a better fit and will provide more direct benefit related to our specific profession. Like the DMLA, the ASMP directly lobbies Congress, especially with regard to copyright matters, so you are supporting that as a member as well. Also, with the ASMP and APA, the member discounts on goods and services can go a long way toward defraying the cost of membership. If you can afford to join the DMLA as well and feel that would benefit you or you would just like to support its activities, by all means do so.

  • I would add Professional Phitographers of America as another option. They also lobby for photographers and you can opt into insurance coverage for your equipment at no additional charge.

  • @David & Carolyn – This point here is that DMLA is no just another Photographic association, its function is specifically to, “provide photographers a much stronger voice, as an industry, to direct and enforce the usage of the Intellectual property they create”. Other associations aren’t doing that. This is about representing the interests of real estate photographers in issues like the ones with Zillow… nothing else.

  • For $350 you become an Associate Member – “The Associate Member is not a voting member of DMLA and will not participate in DMLAsearch but the other benefits of membership apply.” Large companies pay $43 per employee. Although, for a mere $650 you could join with all privileges. I suppose if you’re VHT it’s a good deal but for a one man band I struggle to see the value.

  • @Gary – I’ve given DMLA similar feedback

  • Agree with Gary, for $350 you get second class status with the hope that your fees will go to advocacy (that other associations do as well) and some forms. A Google search puts their offices next to a pet store in a strip mall in Chandler, AZ, not reassuring. Phone number is a SoCal prefix…. As a non-profit I would love to know the breakdown of where all this money is going.

  • @Jerry – in all fairness the address on the website appears to be a mail forwarding service (like Mailboxes Etc. or whatever the current iteration of that company is). Their office location wouldn’t be tied to that address. However, I too am wary of putting up $350 for a non-voting membership which seems like it might as well be a straight-up donation. While the educational resources might be valuable, I would imagine most or all concepts appear in materials available at the public library or elsewhere.

  • Carolyn, while PPA certainly deals with some of the same things that the ASMP and APA do, it is heavily oriented toward people photography, particularly retail portraiture and event photography. The ASMP and PPA have a much broader base that includes the sort of marketing/advertising photography we do with real estate photography. Also, the ASMP in particular has been around a long time and has a particularly strong voice as an advocate for photographers.

  • To me, it is a simple matter of upfront cost of DMLA membership vs potential benefit for my small enterprise. Easy thumbs down in my case.

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