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Gaming NewsJan 15, 2019 at 4:36a PSTby Frozen

The Pinkerton Agency threatens Rockstar with court

Pinkerton does not like the way their agents were depicted in Red Dead Redemption 2. The company seeks redress from Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games.

The Pinkertons were upset by many things, such as badges in the game. - 2019-01-15
The Pinkertons were upset by many things, such as badges in the game.

Last December, Pinkerton, an American security and detective company, sent a letter of warning to Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive. The agency claims that in Red Dead Redemption 2 their trademarks (i.e. characteristic badges) were used illegally. Pinkertons also don't like the fact that they are the main antagonists in the game. They are concerned about their image, which may have been tarnished, which in the case of a company providing detective and security services may have disastrous consequences for the business. The Pinkertons expect considerable compensation from Rockstar and Take-Two. They threaten that in case of a failure to pay, the case will end in court.

And this seems a probable scenario, because Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games have no intention of paying. The official reply to the accusations states that:

Defendants cannot use trademark law to own the past and prevent creators from including historical references to Pinkerton agents in depictions of the American West. (…) 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. (…) Of the 106 “missions” that comprise the 60 hour storyline, the Pinkerton characters appear in only 10. Moreover, expressive use of the term “Pinkerton” in a historical story set in the Wild West to describe a Pinkerton National Detective Agency employee is common in historical entertainment.

The Pinkerton Agency was founded in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton. It gained fame when in 1861 it uncovered a conspiracy, which was supposed to result in the murder of Elector Abraham Lincoln. In the Wild West, the Pinkertons have been hired many times to track down criminals. The agency often appears in films and TV series in a historical context. It has appeared even in other games' settings (apart from the Red Dead series) - the main character of BioShock Infinite, Booker DeWitt, was a Pinkerton's agent.

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