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Going from Justin Bieber to Stevie Wonder is a fairly awkward transition–perhaps we should have asked Quincy Jones for some tips. Particularly awkward is the fact that this Wonder story is actually pretty serious business. Aside from being a musical genius, the singer is a self-styled activist for the rights of the blind and visually-impaired.

This week, Wonder flew to Geneva to address the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization, in order to discuss the lack of access to books for the blind and visually-impaired. The singer pointedly asked the committee to help him, “end the information deprivation that keeps the visually impaired in the dark.”

Wonder took the issue up with the World Intellectual Property Organization due to copyright protections that often prohibit the blind and visually impaired from converting texts into formats that they can consume.

Google’s Public Policy blog has a great quote from Wonder,

While it’s critical to not act to the detriment of the authors who created these great works that enlighten and nourish our minds, hearts and souls, we must develop a protocol that allows the easy import and export of copyrighted material so that people with print disabilities can join the mainstream of the literate world…. It can be done.

You can watch Wonder’s 10 minute UN address after the jump.


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