Russia turns a blind eye to all sorts of copyright violations, but they are mounting a defense for one that they won’t tolerate anymore.
Russia will step up action to defend the copyright of the Kalashnikov, which is made without license by dozens of manufacturers around the world, said Anatoly Isaikin, the chief of the nation’s state arms-trading monopoly.
The Kalashnikov has become the world’s most widely distributed weapon, with some 100 million made in the 60 years since the AK-47 went into serial production, but only about half of them are the genuine, locally made article. …
Isaikin said his company, Rosoboronexport, was working to draft agreements with foreign countries that would protect copyright for Kalashnikovs and other Russian weapons. There are about 30 foreign manufacturers who are currently making Kalashnikovs, he said.
”Together with other federal structures, we are taking steps to establish order,” Isaikin said.
The Soviet Union paid little attention to copyright laws, easily handing out arms production licenses to its satellites in eastern Europe and elsewhere. The Cold War-era production licenses have long-since expired, but production has continued.
It wasn’t until 1997 that the Izhmash factory in the Ural Mountains city of Izhevsk, which makes Kalashnikovs, secured a state patent for the weapon and began pressing foreign manufacturers to respect its copyright.
Izhmash director Vladimir Grodetsky said the company has faced an uphill battle, loosing an estimated $400 million to $500 million a year from counterfeit Kalashnikov makers.
I’m sure there’s an “In Soviet Russia…” joke in there somewhere, but I simply cannot think of a good one at the moment.