The Pinkertons Suing Red Dead Redemption 2
I have discovered two things today. One is that publishers Take-Two is in the middle of a legal battle over Red Dead Redemption 2. Two is that the Pinkertons, famous detective villains from the 19th century’s old, wild west are still around in 2019.
As The Verge report, the Pinkertons—now owned by Swedish security company Securitas AB and called Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations—sent a cease-and-desist notice to Take-Two last month, asking for either a single payment or a royalty arrangement for Red Dead 2’s use of the term “Pinkerton” throughout its story.
In Red Dead 2, your gang uses almost the whole game being stalked by a pair of Pinkertons, and the company is often called out by name. 2019’s Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations challenge that the game’s use of the agency so prominently implies that it was designed with the permission of the company.
Take-Two, meanwhile, argues that use of the word is justified on the grounds of historical accuracy since in the real west the Pinkertons were doing precisely what they’re shown as doing in the game. They’ve now filed a suit of their own, trying to have the game’s Pinkerton agents declared as fair use.
The publisher’s suit also points out that the Pinkertons are referenced throughout media, from Deadwood to Bioshock Infinite to a Weezer album that the agency also tried (and failed) to sue. And Clutch banger: