Red Dead Redemption 2 publisher Take-Two has sued security company Pinkerton following its demand for royalties for the use of its name in the game. In December, Pinkerton sent a cease-and-desist order to Take-Two. This was almost two months after Red Dead Redemption 2's release date. The company wanted Take-Two to pay a lump sum or ongoing royalties claiming that Red Dead Redemption 2 was using the "goodwill" associated with Pinkerton to create a perception that it was developed by or affiliated with Pinkerton.
Take-Two has sued the company, claiming its use of the name falls under fair use. Red Dead Redemption 2's antagonists include Andrew Milton and Edgar Ross, two Pinkerton agents. The publisher stated that Red Dead Redemption 2 is protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time a piece of fiction references Pinkerton. Take-Two's own BioShock Infinite features a protagonist who used to work for the company. Take-Two believes Pinkerton is trying to profit from Red Dead Redemption 2's success. The game shipped over 17 million units in the first two weeks of its release.
"Historical fiction— television, movies, plays, books, and games — would suffer greatly if trademark claims like [Pinkerton's] could even possibly succeed," Take-Two claimed (via The Verge). “[Pinkerton] cannot use trademark law to own the past."
For what it's worth, Red Dead Redemption 2 is as opulent a game as it gets with a beautiful game world that's brimming with detail although the story takes forever to get going. Pity then that the online aspects of the game mimic predatory micro-transaction business models that would make Star Wars Battlefront 2 in its early days seem fair, taking a whole lot of community outrage to fix. Although Red Dead Online is still in beta, hopefully its monetisation model becomes a lot more fairer to its players.
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