Fill Yer Hands With Fair-Use Contracts
Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations is looking to get their hands on some of that sweet Red Dead Redemption 2 money. They’ve sent Take-Two a cease and desist letter, claiming that RDR2’s use of the name Pinkerton is infringing on certain copyright laws. It’s a strong case that’s only slightly impeded by mountains of contrary evidence.
According to Take-Two Interactive, the legendary security firm has been a presence in a massive amount of Western stories for decades. Deadwood, The Long Riders, and even Bioshock Infinite reference the aforementioned security firm. They were just such a significant part of American history in the 19th and 20th century, you see. It’s actually kind of hard to avoid talking about Pinkerton when writing a story about the American West.
In fact, if Pinkerton wins this lawsuit, they would have a measurable and significant impact on old-west storytelling for years to come. As a Take-Two representative put it, a company like this “cannot use trademark law to own the past.” The lawsuit would set a troubling precedent for other companies to follow. Thankfully, this seems wildly unlikely. There’s just such a tremendous amount of evidence working against this case. Stop trying to copyright history, you guys.