Michael Geist has been surprised by the power of Facebook to mobilise opposition to the Canadian government's proposals for their own DMCA.
"consider the experience of the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group, which I launched on December 1st with limited expectations. With the federal government expected to introduce new copyright reform within a matter of days, a Facebook group seemed like a good way to educate the public about an important issue. I sent invitations to a hundred or so Facebook friends and seeded the group with links to a few relevant websites.
What happened next was truly remarkable - within hours, the group started to grow - first 50 members, then 100, and then 1000 members. One week later, there were 10,000 members. Two weeks later, there were over 25,000 members with another Canadian joining the group every 30 seconds.
The big numbers tell only part of the story. The group is home to over 500 wall posts, links to 150 articles of interest, over 50 discussion threads, dozens of photos, and nine videos. Nine days ago, it helped spur on an offline protest when Kempton Lam, a Calgary technologist, organized 50 group members who descended on Industry Minister Jim Prentice's local open house to express their views on copyright...
Much to the surprise of skeptics who paint government as unable or unwilling to listen to public concerns, those voices had an immediate impact. Ten days after the Facebook group's launch, Prentice delayed introducing the new copyright reforms, seemingly struck by the rapid formation of concerned citizens who were writing letters and raising awareness.
Not only had tools like Facebook had an immediate effect on the government's legislative agenda, but the community that developed around the group also led to a "crowdsourcing" of knowledge. Canadians from coast to coast shared information, posed questions, posted their letters to politicians, and started a national conversation on copyright law in Canada.