Real estate agents can protect the intellectual property rights for their photographs as members of the Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA).

The group is launching a registration drive encouraging real estate photographers to join the organization.

According to the DMLA, thousands of real estate photographers practicing nationwide and their clients will benefit by taking advantage of the resources, education and guidance gained by years of experience DMLA members have in the visual licensing industry and how to protect visual works.

According to CEO and co-founder Brian Balduf, real estate photographers could 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,” he said in a statement. “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.”

In the wake of several high-profile cases related to copyright infringement of professional real estate listing photographs and the ongoing unauthorized uses of real estate images, DMLA has kicked off a direct membership appeal to real estate photography professional,

Key court cases, including VHT Studios v. Zillow, are an indication that photographers and other content creators are not being properly compensated for these excessive uses.

In the case, 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.

In 2016, CoreLogic beat class action litigation that claimed the real estate research firm improperly altered property photos and removed information meant to curb copyright infringement as a California federal judge found there was a lack of evidence to back the claims.

Real estate agents are taking the online presence and the influence of images much more seriously, whether they take pictures themselves or hire a photographer.

DMLA indicates there are more than 1.2 million professional real estate agents and another 10,000 professional photographers working to market listings.

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 companies will join as General Members at an annual fee based on the size of the company.