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Internet Free Speech

The rapid growth of the internet and internet technologies created a renewed opportunity for citizens to be heard on a wide variety of issues, including their government, the corporations that have an increasing role in their economic security, and the unions that represent their labor interests.

Public Citizen has developed a program of litigation and other forms of advocacy which protects the rights of these ordinary citizens against those powerful entities who would seek to curtail or suppress the exchange of ideas and criticism that is enabled by this new technology.

  • Developments in Dendrite (PDF), another article Paul Alan Levy, published in Florida Coastal Law Review, examining developments in the caselaw governing subpoenas to identify anonymous internet speakers.

For assistance with the protection of your free speech rights, contact Public Citizen Litigation Group at litigation@citizen.org or Public Citizen Litigation Group, 1600 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009. A request for advice or assistance should contain a BRIEF description of the situation. If there are one or two highly relevant documents, attach them. For example, if you have been sued, include a copy of the complaint; if threatened with suit, include the demand letter. Be sure to include contact information. Do not send original documents.

Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


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Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

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