Stevie Wonder has lobbied the UN for greater accessibility to copyright protected materials for people with visual impairments. The forefront of this is reducing the costs of audiobooks.

So what’s the problem? Why can’t audiobooks be produced at reasonable prices or made more available? The fear of the copyright holders is the loss of control. The licenses currently granted to charities holding audiobooks does not extend to providing those works to the same charities in other countries.

WIPO has been considering this problem for some time. In the UK we have the Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 which allows an audio version of a book to be made. However that audio work could not be transferred to another country. A territorial extended license with increased fees is probably what is required to allow the movement of the work. The fees would have to be less than it would cost to make several audio versions of the same book just to have it in the countries the charity operates in.