[nfb-talk] Fw: [fcb-l] FW: [acb-l] Stevie Wonder to UN: Ease Copyrights for theBlind

Sherri flmom2006 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 21 14:15:51 UTC 2010

Passing this along. Thought this was interesting!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Edwards, Paul" <pedwards at mdc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 9:48 AM
Subject: [fcb-l] FW: [acb-l] Stevie Wonder to UN: Ease Copyrights for 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: acb-l-bounces at acb.org [mailto:acb-l-bounces at acb.org] On Behalf Of 
> John Heim
> Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 9:46 AM
> To: acb-l at acb.org
> Subject: [acb-l] Stevie Wonder to UN: Ease Copyrights for the Blind
> Relevant to our recent discussion about people who have "made it".
> --- 
> Stevie Wonder to UN: Ease Copyrights for the Blind
> GENEVA (AP) -- Stevie Wonder pressed global copyright overseers on Monday 
> to
> help blind and visually impaired people access millions of science, 
> history
> and other audiobooks, which they cannot read in electronic form.
> The blind singer told the U.N.'s 184-nation World Intellectual Property
> Organization that more than 300 million people who ''live in the dark'' 
> want
> to ''read their way into light,'' and the current copyright system denies
> them an equal opportunity.
> The current legal framework means that institutes for the blind in 
> different
> countries may be required to make multiple audiobook versions of the same
> work, said Richard Owens, WIPO's director of copyright and electronic
> commerce.
> Owens said this leads to higher costs that are passed on to the listeners.
> It also limits access to blind and partially blind people in poor 
> countries,
> which cannot afford to make their own versions of everything from science
> textbooks to best-sellers, he said.
> The U.N. agency has been trying for six years to revamp its global 
> copyright
> framework so that it better accounts for new media, such as audiobooks. 
> For
> the blind and visually impaired, the goal is to create a clearinghouse so
> that published material can be traded around the world and translated into
> new, readable formats.
> But the problem of access for such copyrighted material goes to the heart 
> of
> a growing crisis in the world of copyright protection, as the Internet
> increasingly muddies laws that were created for traditional media. Whereas
> wide exceptions exist for books in Braille, WIPO officials say there is
> confusion over how these benefits can be translated into the digital age.
> Proponents of a new agreement say the same benefits that digital books
> provide most consumers -- lower costs and better storage and
> accessibility -- should be extended to those with disabilities. The United
> States and European nations that export large amounts of published 
> material
> are somewhat hesitant because of concerns over an erosion of intellectual
> property rights, and want to avoid a binding treaty.
> Wonder called for a compromise and teased the diplomats.
> ''Please work it out. Or I'll have to write a song about what you didn't
> do,'' said the 60-year-old singer known for such hits as ''Superstition''
> and ''I Just Called to Say I Love You.''
> Complicating the talks are the demands of African countries, which are
> seeking even larger copyright loopholes. They want their libraries and
> academic institutions to be able to skip licensing agreements so that they
> can provide audiobook access for larger communities.
> Wonder, who has sold tens of million of albums, said any agreement should
> respect the authors ''who labor to create the great works that enlighten 
> and
> nourish our minds, hearts and souls.'' He insisted on a practical solution
> so that blind and visually impaired people get ''the tools to think their
> way out of poverty.''
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