Blind singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder has agreed to play a show in Marrakesh, Morocco following the completion of the "Marrakesh Treaty," an agreement to permit easier publication of copyrighted books for blind or visually impaired individuals.
In a recorded video addressed to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Wonder explains a need for change so that blind and visually impaired citizens of the 186 member states represented by the organization can receive adequate reading material.
WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry told Intellectual Property Watch, "For WIPO, as an organisation, I think it is extremely important that we maintain our relevance to economic rulemaking. The member states are demonstrating that they have the capacity to tackle specific problems, and to achieve a consensus on a result for those problems."
"For intellectual property, it is very important, because this is a treaty which was needed. It addresses a problem which needed to be solved in the IP system. Essentially, the cross-border transfer of works in accessible formats under certain exceptions. It shows that the IP system can be expansive and take care of the interests of the beneficiaries of the IP system, and take care of the interests of all parts of society."
Due to current copyright laws, certain books and publications are inaccessible to the blind simply because they are not available on audio book, in enlarged lettering, or in braille. Obviously for Wonder, who has been blind since birth, this is a point of worry.
"Let's get this 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered (and) I'm Yours,'" Wonder cited from his repertoire of musical accomplishments.
"Do this and I will come to Marrakesh and we will celebrate together."
On Thursday, the WIPO announced the approval of the "Marrakesh Treaty" that will enable accessible formats of publicized material for people with disabilities. The pact will come into effect when it is ratified by 20 member states of the UN agency, Reuters reported.
Wonder's impromptu concert will be limited to anyone participating in the diplomatic conference and will take place this Friday at the Palais des Congres.
To receive the full text for the "Marrakesh Treaty," visit the WIPO's website.