Family businesses are a time - honored tradition. A business that is built on a family's dedication to helping each other succeed and paving the way for future generations to take over can be quite powerful. However, as with all family interactions conflicts will inevitably arise. If these conflicts are severe enough, you just might need a family business mediator to smooth things over. This is the process involved in resolving conflict using outside help.
Mediators Help Keep You Out of Court
A mediator can help keep a conflict out of the courts by being a neutral third party advisor that can help craft a solution to your problem. They can't mandate a settlement, and usually if they are successful, you will never have to take the conflict into a courtroom at all. Mediation is faster and less expensive than using a lawyer or arbitrator to settle conflicts with family members regarding your business matters.
Family business mediators (such as those from Family Business Mediation by Alternative Law) can sometimes be lawyers, but more often than not, they are business consultants who have conflict resolution experience.
No Legal Binding Decision
When a family business hires a mediator, there is no legal binding decision on the outcome of these sessions. Instead of being hamstrung to do whatever an arbitrator or the court mandates, the family business partners sit down and discuss together, with the mediator's help, potential solutions and outcomes to the issues at hand on their own. Every single family member's ideas and offers of a solution are brought to the table and heard and discussed individually before moving on to the next person.
Typically a mediator will meet with all parties involved separately or with their counsel first to determine where everyone stands on the issues. This is to design a mediation process that can bring everyone's concerns to the forefront and deal with them accordingly.
A mediator can help to build bridges between each family member and to see the point each other are making. During the initial phase of negotiation, you can choose to have each family member in different rooms and their offers brought to the others without anyone knowing whose idea it is. This can help distract from family grievances and each family member involved can focus on the issues and resolutions at hand.
When the family is more on the same page and accepting of each others' ideas and terms, the mediator will then bring everyone together to create the formal decision and plan going forward.
When you sell stock photography, there is always a risk that someone may use your image in a way that you didn't permit in the licensing agreement. When that happens, you need to protect your licensing rights. The best way to do that is to work with a copyright and licensing attorney. I've spent a lot of time researching fair use and licensing restrictions. I hope that the information here helps you to not only understand your rights as the creator but also to learn how to document and enforce those rights and seek legal resolutions when they are violated.