Entertainment

Wonder to U.N.: Ease copyrights for blind

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 in Geneva, Switzerland, 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 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.

Proponents of a new agreement say the same benefits that digital books provide most consumers should be extended to those with disabilities. The United States and European nations that export large amounts of published material are hesitant because of concerns over an erosion of intellectual property rights, and want to avoid a binding treaty.

Wonder, 60, 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 singer known for such hits as "Superstition" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You."

Hilton pleads guilty in Las Vegas arrest

Paris Hilton acknowledged Monday that she had cocaine in her purse and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges stemming from her arrest last month at a Las Vegas hotel-casino.

She will serve a year of probation and avoid a felony charge under the terms of a plea deal worked out with prosecutors. The celebrity heiress pleaded guilty to drug possession and obstructing an officer.

Hilton, 29, must complete a drug abuse program, pay a $2,000 fine and serve 200 hours of community service.

Another year older

Today's birthdays: actor Larry Hagman, 79... poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen, 76... author-comedian Fannie Flagg, 66... author Stephen King, 63... musician Don Felder , 63... actor-comedian Bill Murray, 60... movie producer-writer Ethan Coen, 53... actress Nancy Travis, 49... actor Rob Morrow, 48... actress Cheryl Hines, 45... country singer Faith Hill, 43... actress-talk show host Ricki Lake, 42... actor Luke Wilson, 39... TV personality Nicole Richie, 29.

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