[A2k] Reuters: Stevie Wonder to sing for blind treaty negotiators

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Jun 28 02:31:10 PDT 2013


Stevie Wonder to sing for blind treaty negotiators

10:58 a.m. CDT, June 27, 2013

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. singer Stevie Wonder will give a concert in
Marrakesh on Friday, honoring his promise to perform if negotiators
concluded an international treaty boosting access to books for blind and
visually impaired people worldwide.

The "Isn't She Lovely" star, who has been sightless since birth, lobbied
hard for the pact approved on Thursday by more than 600 negotiators from
186 states, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said in a

"This is a legacy, a gift to future generations. So let's finalize a new
agreement that opens doors to the world's written treasures and moves
towards a future where there are no barriers to the expansion of knowledge
and enjoyment of culture," Wonder, said in a recorded video sent to the
meeting this week.

"Let's get this signed, sealed, delivered, and I'm yours," he said,
borrowing a verse from one of his hit songs. "Do this and I will come to
Marrakesh and we will celebrate together."

The Wonder concert at the Palais des Congres, limited to participants of
the diplomatic conference, is set for 2000 GMT on Friday.

The treaty aims to overcome copyright issues that have been barriers to
improving access to published works in accessible formats that make it
easier for the disabled to use, WIPO said.

It requires ratifying countries to adopt laws which will permit the
reproduction and distribution of published works in formats such as
Braille, large print text and audio books.

The pact, to be known as the "Marrakesh Treaty", enters into force when
ratified by 20 member states of the U.N. agency.

"This is a balanced treaty and represents a very good arbitration of the
diverse interests of the various stakeholders," WIPO Director-General
Francis Gurry said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Paul Casciato)

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