Stevie Wonder Lobbies United Nations for More Audiobooks
Soul legend Stevie Wonder lobbied the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Monday, in an attempt to provide better access to audiobooks for the blind and visually impaired.
Wonder, who has been blind since birth, urged that the WIPO work to transform the current copyright system, which he claimed fails to provide acceptable access to educational audiobooks for the over 300 million blind or visually impaired persons, leaving them to “live in the dark.”
According to the current system, institutes for the blind are frequently required to create multiple versions of the same audiobook, and it is often difficult to translate texts, making access to information extremely costly and at times impossible for those visually impaired and poor around the world.
“We must declare a state of emergency and end the information deprivation,” Wonder said. “There are people who have probably even far more to offer than myself who are locked into this kind of prison because information is not available to them.”
Wonder, who is a longtime blind rights advocate, concluded by challenging the WIPO to extend the laws and increase access to audio books, threatening to “write a song about what you didn’t do,” unless they satisfied his demands, in which case he said “I’ll come back and do an incredible celebration concert.”