Take-Two seems to have strong-armed a British tech site over Red Dead Redemption 2 leaks

    
23

According to recent reports from Variety, Kotaku, and Gamasutra, British technology website TrustedReviews has pulled a February article that published leaked information about Rockstar Games’s Red Dead Redemption 2 eight months prior to its release and has donated about $1.3 million US to charity in compensation.

In an apology issued to Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive, TrustedReviews writes, “On February 6, 2018, we published an article that was sourced from a confidential corporate document. We should have known this information was confidential and should not have published it. We unreservedly apologise to Take-Two Games and we have undertaken not to repeat such actions again. We have also agreed to donate over £1 million to charities chosen by Take-Two Games.”

According to Variety, neither company responded to questions regarding whether the site broke any laws in acquiring the leaked information, though Take-Two did issue the following statement – and threat:

“Take-Two takes security seriously and will take legal action against people or publications who leak confidential information. Because this situation involved information about Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar Games directed the settlement funds to these three great charities: the American Indian College Fund, the American Prairie Reserve, and the First Nations Development Institute.”

Our readers will surely be aware that journalists are generally under no legal obligation to suppress leaked material on behalf of corporations unless they have agreed to some form of NDA themselves. The lack of information provided in this case (for example, whether TrustedReviews came by the “confidential” material legally under British law) makes it difficult to draw conclusions, but it’s not hard to see that Take-Two’s clear threat to sue video game outlets, most of whom do not have a million bucks to defend themselves against a $13B company whether or not they are in the wrong, could have a “chilling effect” on the industry.

Source: Variety, Gamasutra, Kotaku. Further reading on Kotaku here and here.
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Armsbend

If they had a million pounds to donate to a charity then they had the money to defend themselves in court – if they had any ground to stand on – which I assume by the tone that they didn’t.

Journalism has become weaker and weaker over the years since the advent of the 24/7 cable news cycle scoops – if a company is breaking contract with a developer then it is for the best that they must adhere to it.

Reader
Bryan Correll

most of whom do not have a million bucks to defend themselves

Sure……
We all know you’re rolling in a pile of that sweet, sweet game journalism cash.

Bree McDuck.jpg
Reader
Grave Knight

Make no mistake, those are all chocolate coins.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Dobablo

There are chocolate coins to be made from gaming journalism? I chose the wrong job… :(

Reader
Bryan Correll

Have you seen the prices on decent chocolate lately?

Reader
Colin Goodwin

I paid $46 for a relatively small bar of high quality cooking chocolate for a mole sauce I was making to impress my boss at a dinner party I hosted. A small piece of my soul died that day.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

Hey, Bree has the same bathing suit as Scrooge McDuck!

Xijit
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

I think the only thing that saves take two from fatal consumer backlash is the fact that they only put out 1 game every 3 to 5 years, and people keep forgetting how shitty they are before the next game gets released.

Reader
A Dad Supreme

Well, it ended well. Charity got a huge donation. More of a “loss/win” but still ends in a win.

Reader
Lethality

If “journalists” let ethics guide them rather than clicks, this wouldn’t be an issue, because — lack of legal obligation or not — they would not publish information for which they do not own rights.

Simple ethics.

Theryl
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Theryl

Nonsense. Investigative journalism inherently involves publishing material journalists do not own the “rights” to and much wrongdoing has been uncovered by someone slipping a journalist important information.

Publishing things people want to be published is PR, not journalism.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Yeaaaahhh. “Ownership of leak material” is not the ethical consideration here at all. “Public interest” is the actual ethical issue. The second “further reading” in the source box in the article discusses how publishing even something as superficially unimportant as video game leaks can be in the public interest- for example, when they expose studio misinformation.

Reader
Lethality

Stealing intellectual property is not “investigative journalism”.

They’re not exposing political agendas, social injustice, hate crimes, or even workplace issues. It’s private property, period. It’s being published for the sole financial gain of the 3rd party organization.

Why do you think they pulled the article and bent over for Take-Two without blinking? Because they could be criminally complicit.

Ethics. Get some.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Who said they stole it? You don’t have to steal information to get it – you can have it leaked by others (who are violating NDA’s etc.), you can have it accidentally sent to you, you can find someone stupidly looking at the material in public (remember the Shadow of the Tomb Raider leak? It was an employee working a powerpoint deck for it on the train in public).

Stealing intellectual property and confidential materials is illegal. That is specifically NOT investigative journalism, that’s a crime.

It’s being published because it’s news. Because it’s of interest to readers and it’s not illegal.

Why did they pull the article? Maybe the way they acquired it was in the gray area. Maybe the legal costs of fighting Take Two in court, even if they believed they were innocent, were going to be astronomically higher than this settlement and this was the easiest way out for them without bankrupting their company. Who knows?

Every time I read one of your posts I can’t help but believe more and more that you’re simply posting to be contrarian no matter what. If it’s an act, it’s kinda a boring/tired one that’s not very interesting.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

According to the purported former TI staffer in Kotaku’s comments, they didn’t steal it; it was sent to them anonymously. It’s not clear how the actual person who leaked it to them got it and whether they were exposed to litigation.

If anyone’s curious about how journalistic ethics actually work, here you go. Fref, publishing leaks is not “stealing intellectual property.”

Reader
Lethality

I didn’t say *they* stole it. But the fact is, it’s intellectual property they do not own the rights to.

And a party who has no legal right to it publishes it for profit. No problem with that? Possession does not grant license.

I’m glad Take-Two decided to take them to task on this.

((Edited by mod. Nice bait but no.))

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Them not owning the rights is irrelevant. If that were a barrier to posting news then investigative journalism would largely be dead.

They publish it because it’s news. Because it’s information that their readers and others will want to know. Because it’s legal for them to do so. The Supreme Court in the US has ruled multiple times to this effect in defense of news outlets right to publish confidential material that they did not break the law to obtain.

You continue to have literally no idea how investigative journalism works. And while I generally try not to resort to insults here and this isn’t intended to be an insult, you not knowing how shit actually works seems to be the norm rather than the exception with you.

Reader
Lethality

Hey, I’m not the one who successfully ordered them to remove the post, issue an apology and donate to charity.

Must be something to it, no?

Just sayin’. Ethics.

Reader
Dread Quixadhal

You know… if I buy something on ebay, or in a garage sale, and it turns out to be stolen, I am still in the wrong and the goods are still confiscated with no reparations paid to me.

The journalists knew the information was almost certainly leaked from under an NDA, they even said this with “We should have known this information was confidential and should not have published it.”

So, at that point the moral question becomes “Can the release of this help anyone? Will it help someone more than it hurts others?” Not having all the details, it sure sounds like the answer to both was “No.”

And thus, we come to the decision to publish being motivated by greed. What a surprise.

Reader
_Windsong_

I think you dont know what IP is Dude.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
squid

This is the MassivelyOP comment section—I think you’re looking for /r/KotakuInAction.

Reader
Rumm

Our readers will surely be aware that journalists are generally under no legal obligation to suppress leaked material on behalf of corporations unless they have agreed to some form of NDA themselves.

Bingo. Where’s my thumbs up button for articles?

Reader
Colin Goodwin

Let my petty ass get my hands on some gta6 secrets…talk about leaked faster than the speed of social media with a smirk.