Some years ago I had a website, 8north.com, a marine guide to a region of the Andaman Sea.
I had to take the site down and let the domain name expire because I had moved away from southern Thailand and could no longer update the site in a professional manner. I had especially been concerned about changes wrought by the 2004 tsunami which I did not adequately warn site visitors about.
I recently returned to Phuket, Thailand for a visit. While staying at a friend's place, a delegation of angry local businessmen arrived. They wanted to know why I continued to report information about their businesses that was long out of date and wrong, and why I failed to report alterations to the government anchorage at Ao Chalong, causing yachtsmen to be at risk when trying to make landfall at night.
This was news to me. Not only had someone secured the old domain name, but I was shocked to find they also had all of the pages of the old site still up. How they got the old pages I don't know, unless my old host had provided them with the files or they had copied all the pages before it went offline.
The only difference is that the pages have google ads across the top. I am horrified because the yachting guide is so out of date that it endangers the safety of anyone who trusts it.
I send godaddy an angry letter, believing from the whois (which is Greek to me) that they were hosting the site. They wrote back to say that they had registered the domain name, but had nothing to do with content of the site hosted by a third party host.
At this point, the fact that the information on the site is copyrighted has little significance to me. I just want the site off line.
I am not sure what I should do. Should I complain to Google, get them to pull their ads? As far as I can tell that's the only reason the site is up.
Well, first off, I'd think this would be more of a shared hosting post, and not a Web Hosting Lounge post.
Second of all, go for the copyright issue. Find out where the server's site is hosted. If it is in the United States, and you did hold the copyright, file a DMCA complaint with the web host. Otherwise, there really isn't much you can do other than if they're breaking the Godaddy TOS, which isn't likely.
If you let domains expire and dont renew them and someone else renews it, you're out of luck unless if your trademark is registered. If its registered, try sending a notice to ICANN. If its not registered... Better luck next time.
Your only recourse for the site content is to send the host and/or upstream a DMCA notice if they are in US territories. If not, you can still try sending a similar type notice.