Take-Two Interactive has found themselves in another strange legal battle, this time with the real-life Pinkerton Agency over their role in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Pinkerton Consulting & Investigation sent a cease and desist letter to Rockstar games and Take-Two on December 13th, 2018, citing that neither Rockstar nor Take-Two received permission to use the Pinkerton symbols, specifically the Pinkerton badge, without their permission.
The Pinkertons also assert that Red Dead Redemption 2 casts the Pinkerton Agency as the villians, actively hunting the game's protagonists and casting the agency in a negative light. The Agency, highlight its over 165 years of detective work, believes that the game "is likely to blur the distinctive character and tarnish the reputation of Pinkerton's famous trademarks."
Though they made no legal action for trademark infringement, the Agency did threaten to sue but were willing to settle the dispute for "a lump sum figure."
Take-Two has, subsequently, counter-sued the Pinkerton Agency on the behalf of Rockstar Games. Citing the fact that the Pinkertons themselves are only featured in ten missions total out of the 106 missions in the main game. Along with that, any references to the Pinkerton Agency was done in part to be as historically accurate as possible to the time period, claiming that "historical references are woven into the fabric of the game at every level."
“The game’s reference to the historical Pinkerton National Detective Agency and its agents is but one of a myriad of ways that Red Dead 2 accurately portrays the historical Nineteenth Century American landscape." says the lawsuit. The lawsuit also points out other references to the Pinkertons in other forms of media, such as HBO's Deadwood and the Weezer album titled Pinkerton, which saw the agency unsuccessfully attempt to prevent the album from release by filing a lawsuit over trademark infringement.
Take-Two is also invoking that the references to the Pinkertons in the game are protected by the First Amendment, and do not infringe or any rights held by the Agency.
What are your thoughts on this? Is the Pinkerton Agency right? Is Take-Two justified in their lawsuit? Leave your comments below.