By David Meyer
August 18, 2017

The Los Angeles-based web host DreamHost, which is fighting the Department of Justice over its attempt to seize records of visitors to an anti-Donald Trump website, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to aid its cause.

DreamHost revealed the fight on Monday. The company provides hosting services for a site called DisruptJ20.org, which was used to organize the Washington, D.C. protests on 20 January, the day of Trump’s inauguration. A couple of hundred people were arrested and charged after the protests partially turned violent.

The Justice Department wants DreamHost to hand over all its records for the site, including the roughly 1.3 million IP addresses that could be used to identify visitors to the site. The firm says the demand is overly broad and in conflict with constitutional protections for free speech and against unreasonable searches and seizures.

With the first hearing at the Superior Court of Washington, D.C. set for next week, DreamHost has now set up a crowdfunding page so those who support it can help fund its legal battle. The page has a target of $10,000, which the firm hopes to reach by 16 September.

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In a blog post, DreamHost said it had received an “overwhelming” amount of support after it went public with the DOJ disagreement. It said the best thing supporters could do would be to “contact your elected representatives and draw their attention to this issue.”

“For many of the people we’ve spoken with this week, that’s not enough. They’ve told us they want to contribute to our legal bills, and some of them have been pretty insistent about it. We’ve established a crowdfunding link for anyone who feels the need to contribute,” the company wrote. “Please do not feel obligated to do so. In other words: ‘We got this.'”

DreamHost added that any raised funds that are left over after the case is done will be donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the digital rights group that is helping it out.

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