DAA News Network

International: Stevie Wonder demands access for people with visual impairments

Posted 26/9-10 at 22.56

In a speech, interspersed with snatches of song, to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, Stevie Wonder, singer and UN Messenger for Peace, called for unified copyright rules that would improve audiobook access for visually impaired people.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder

He pointed out that 300 million people "live in the dark" and want to "read their way into light". "There are people", he said, "...who are locked into this kind of prison because information is not available to them."

The singer threatened to "write a song about what you didn't do" if the WIPO failed to rethink the licensing framework. On the other hand, he said, if they enacted a solution within the next 12 months, "I'll come back and do an incredible celebration concert."


Editorial comment: As we have reported in this year's January, May and August editions, the battle to free up information for people with visual impairment has been going on for over many years. Hopes for an agreement have been continually dashed, mainly because of opposition from the US and Europe. Although we would very much like to see and hear a celebration concert, the WIPO's track record suggests that, unfortunately, we may have to do with a single Stevie Wonder song.




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