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March 1, 2001 Callary will be advisor on intellectual property






Stephen Callary

Stephen Callary

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj





by Barbara Black

Stephen J. Callary has been appointed Special Advisor to the Provost and Vice-Rector, Research, on Copyright, Intellectual Property and the International Delivery of Education via Electronic Media. He brings vast international experience to this pro bono appointment.

Callary is the vice-chairman and CEO of the Copyright Board of Canada, and a consultant in the field. He says he would like to give something back to an institution he values dearly. A Loyola College graduate (BA 68), his father attended Loyola, and now his daughter is doing an MA here.

He went on to take a law degree at McGill, and completed a PhD in law in Germany, doing postdoctoral studies in international environmental law. He then plunged into environmental management through the International Union for Conservancy of Nature, based in Bonn, and became involved in another subject of growing importance through the World International Property Organization, based in Geneva.

He came back to Canada in the late 1970s, and was invited to join the first task force of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission, which was charged with examining possible political bias in the media, particularly at Radio-Canada.

Callary remembers this as a particularly rewarding experience. The great literary critic Northrop Frye was the keystone of the task force, and wrote its report.

As a result, Callary remembers, changes were made at CBC and Radio-Canada, and guidelines quietly put in place, but internally and without fanfare.

Callary went on to new challenges: a post in the Privy Council Office during the last years of Pierre Trudeau and the brief tenure of Joe Clark; a role in setting up the Canada Business Council.

He spent five years in Egypt, where he organized technology transfer for the Technology Institute for Medical Devices for Canada. As managing director of Improved Petroleum Recovery International, he negotiated oil recovery contracts with the principal development funding agencies for projects in Asia and the Middle East.

Currently, he provides strategic planning and business development advice to the president of TerraChoice Environmental Services. He is also working on the development of EcoBuyer.com, an e-commerce Web site for green products and services.

In his advisory role at Concordia, Callary will be an invaluable resource on copyright law, which is rapidly being outstripped by the development of digital technology. Canada’s Copyright Act has just been overhauled, but it’s already out of date.

However, his interests go beyond the law itself, because he has such a broad perspective on where universities are going. Callary is acutely aware of the demand for digital delivery of knowledge.

Distance education has been around since your grandmother took correspondence courses by mail. All over the developing world, there are ingenious models, Callary said, from radio and television delivery to remote (literally remote) classrooms.

There are huge distance-education universities, including the Open University in the U.K., with more than 200,000 students, and India’s open university system, which has an enrolment of about 600,000.

Now we have the Internet, and as highly publicized court cases in the music industry have shown us, delivering information and entertainment in a digital medium has big stakes.
“Copyright issues are fundamental,” he said. “People will use educational material [from the Internet] without any acknowledgement if we not have the right tools in place.”

Through his career, as he tried to help developing nations bridge the yawning technology gap, Callary has developed a sensitivity to how these issues affect teaching institutions.

“We have a tremendous tradition of academic freedom and access to knowledge — it’s the basis of intellectual curiosity,” he said. “You don’t want to build walls holding it back, but there must be equity and fairness.

“I would prefer to see professors make their own [legal] arrangements with the university, but if there are problems, I’m here to help.”