Are companies allowed to withhold information from their shareholders?

Have you ever heard of eSoft? (http://www.esoft.com/) As a common stock investor in their company, I have difficulty obtaining information on financial results. Are they legally allowed to withhold information from shareholders?
I am aware of eSoft and happen to like their Web site. If they are publicly traded, you should be able to access quarterly and annual financial results. If they are privately held, depending on the state of incorporation, you may have the right to examine the books and records of the company at your expense.
This was first published in March 2004

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