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A gripe site is a type of website devoted to the critique and or mockery of a person, place, politician, corporation, or institution. They are also known as "complaint" or "sucks" sites. The Internet provides a low cost public platform for anyone, even of modest means, to reach a global audience via a "gripe" website. The web gives ordinary individuals the opportunity to publicly criticise the rich and powerful, including multinational corporations. Time and money is invested in the hope of gaining satisfaction by airing a perceived grievance and embarrassing the party which is the target of the "gripe".
The following definition of a "gripe site" is from comments authored by a notable American lawyer, Paul Levy, and published online by Public Citizen, a Washington D.C. based organization founded in 1971 by Ralph Nader: "A 'gripe site' is a web site established to criticize an institution such as a corporation, union, government body, or political figure. Not surprisingly, powerful institutions often do not take kindly to being criticized, and they have invented a variety of ways to try to suppress the speech of their adversaries." Levy is also a lawyer within the associated Public Citizen Litigation Group, another non-profit making organization. He is the founder of the groups “Public Internet Free Speech Project”.
In an attempt to shut down a gripe site, companies have sued the gripe site owner alleging defamation, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, libel and copyright infringement. Public Citizen, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for example, have defended gripe site owners in court on the grounds that free speech gripe sites are protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or civil liberties provisions of constitutions in other countries.