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In any case, if the site is not complex (i.e. no server-side programming or databases) you could download a copy yourself to be on the safe side.
It won't be as satisfying as kicking the webmasters butt in court, but it will be cheaper and less stressful over the long run and allow you to get back to work on what you do best instead of screwing around trying to get him/her to do something they aren't inclined to do on their own.
You can look up the domain in the whois database. If it's registered to the webmaster before going the lawyer route try getting someone that knows what they're talking about and doing. I had a client that was going through a similar situation where the original webmaster was giving him the run around until I stepped in. It's pretty easy to push someone around that has no clue but not so easy if the other person is knowledgeable. Unless he has some pretty firm legal ground to stand on he'll probably allow the transfer.
The singlemost important thing is that you own the domain name. Is it your ISP email that's listed as Administrative contact for the domain?
BTW, carny do you have two sites or just one?
Marshall, it's usually independent contractor, which isn't the same thing as work for hire, and the copyright issue is different.
[edited by: encyclo at 12:50 am (utc) on May 17, 2007]
[edit reason] fixed broken link [/edit]
He is fully paid( over I think) but is just miserable.
May be worth checking that he's fully paid, and asking him what his grievance is.
Probably a lot cheaper than rebuilding all over again, or going to court.
In my experience, people tend to be miserable for a reason - and he just might have a good one. At least ask him!
In my experience, people tend to be miserable for a reason - and he just might have a good one.
The domain name is another matter and there are a number of ways to go about obtaining that. Once you have the domain name then you will need to either show the site 'as it was' or commission a new webmaster to create a new and different design which uses none of the design features from your original webmaster.
He must be a GoDaddy reseller
Before you take any decisions (on anything in life) you must do your research and get your facts straight. Reading this thread, you do not appear to have done so yet.
If he is a reseller, he may be breaching their rules (you'll have to do some research to find out) in which case you would have some leverage.
In my experience, avoid arguments, avoid courts and just sort out messes as necessary - in this case, ideally you want a new webmaster in place, etc. before the old one knows he's history (but make sure he has no grounds for legal action against you first).
Google says there is nothing they can do
Carny, please read carefully comments posted above...
Do not act before having a clear idea of what's going on. If you are not a webguy yourself, I suggest you follow Coalman or Marshall's advice, that is to hire another webmaster that can trackback essential information.
As you can see, they are many ways to get your site back and running. Someone even gave you the There has been You didn't even said if your website is static or dynamic?
Anyway, this all situation is dubious to me...
Go Daddy reserves the right to terminate Services if Your usage of the Services results in, or is the subject of, legal action or threatened legal action, against Go Daddy or any of its affiliates or partners, without consideration for whether such legal action or threatened legal action is eventually determined to be with or without merit.
In other words, if you threaten to file a law suit against both GoDaddy and the Reseller, the Reseller's account could be terminated.
Like I said before, do your research - there may be a lot more in their TOS that might be useful. If you think researching problems is beneath you, either you'll get taken again and again or you'll pay lawyers a lot of money. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's the truth.
I'm not a web guy but it seems to me that the "Webmasters" are sowing their own seeds of destruction but lack of self discipline.
Most of us are "Webmasters" here and probably don't appreciate being lumped into a single category that is "sowing their own seeds of destruction". The truth is there are losers in every industry.
The fact is some of this could have been avoided with some research so you knew a little about the webmaster and the process, so you knew to put the domain in your name, and a written contract would probably have helped as well.
Unfortunately those things weren't done so that is ship has sailed. Now you have the chance to do some additional research to see what remedies may still be open to you.
That research includes getting FREE advice from all of us "Webmasters". So please a little respect to those of us that are self disciplined and would never dream of treating our clients the way you have been treated.
My experience is a bit off topic, but I believe it will apply.
Recently It's Your Domain .com, IYD.com stole two of my domaind that wre registered with them.
They put the domains into redemption 18 hours before the registration ended. When they did that I began to remove the rest of my domains. One that was expiring the next day was delayed long enough, so that the new, complicated verification system was delayed by their request for faxes, etc.
In any event, I went to ICANN and Neustar. One was .com and one was .org.
Neustar was very helpful. ICANN was rude and ineffcetive, and evtually ferused to speak to me withut an attorney.
I hired an attorney, but ebcause of the specialness of the situation, I did most of the prep work , that I had already presented to ICANN, by myself.
When IYD's legal counsel, which I obtained from whois, received the letters from my attorney, which was copied to ICANN and Neustar, "suddenly" IYD owned up to a vagueness in ICANN's regulations. IN other words they realized they were about to get their F""""N panys sued off and backed off. THey reelased my domains, to the public and then called my attorney (so tehre was a chance I might actually have lost it again to stangers) Anyway, I got them back.
I am now my own registrar (A go daddy resller, and have somewhat mre control over my many domains.)
The point is, I suggest you gather all the information you have, put it in a straightforward manner, hire a lawyer to at least write a letter to the developer, making your demands and copy ICANN's general Counsel, and go-daddy. It is probably your only shot. They might just realize you're serious.
We are living in a very anonymous world where peopel act like Martinets and do rude things to others who otherwise might be timid creeps. (I have stopped using Ebay because of the this.) This is the most perplexing aspect of doing business on the web, people hiding behind anonymity caused by the lack of real contact in a physical community. People are laways getting ripped off because of this. You're not alone.
You could always find out what street they live on. We used to do that in the Bronx. It also shows a bit a seriousness. But, really, a lawyer's letter is your best shot. And, the lawyer's letter will arive by post, which is much more effective than an email.