Red star (image via Wikimedia Commons)

Since the Russian Revolution, the red star has served as an international symbol of Communism, spangling the flags and insignia of myriad Communist states. Red stars have also, incidentally, been used in the branding of some major Western corporations: Among them, Macy’s department stores, Heineken brewery, and Italy’s San Pellegrino mineral water producer. Sick and tired of these capitalist pigs stealing its symbolism, the Russian Communist Party is now attempting to internationally copyright the red star, according to the Moscow Times and the Russian-language site Lenta.ru. As the Moscow Times explains:

State Duma deputy and chief lawyer for the Communist Party (KPRF) Vadim Solovyov said his comrades would send an appeal to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, asking him to ensure “protection of our symbols, including the red star — the symbol of victory that appears on our military flags,” Lenta.ru reported.

“Sometimes our symbols are used for commercial purposes, and the state must protect state symbols from commercial use by foreign firms,” Solovyov was quoted as saying. Foreigners “have nothing to do with our symbolism,” he added.

Russian companies could still be allowed to use the symbol, as long as they do not “intentionally distort [it] or use in an incorrect form,” Solovyov said, Lenta.ru reported. He did not specify what would constitute the correct or incorrect use of a red star image.

To pursue these demands, the Russian Communist Party would have to get around the fact that international copyright law does not exist, as Gawker points out, or that even if it did exist, copyrighting something as basic as a simple shape in a specific color would be pretty difficult. Then there’s the issue of the capitalistic construct of copyright being totally incompatible with Communist thinking (though we’d like to watch these comrades try to sue Macy’s and use their winnings to fund the next revolution); and the technicality that most of the companies with red star logos were started before the Soviet Union was a glimmer in the revolutionaries’ eyes (who’s appropriating now?). But never mind these minor hurdles: During the Cold War, Heineken changed its logo to a white star with a red outline to avoid association with the Red Menace — so if appeals to the Prime Minister fail, all it might take to get evil corporations to leave the precious red star alone is another revolution.

h/t Gawker 

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Carey Dunne

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering arts and culture. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Baffler, The Village Voice, and elsewhere.

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