Press Release

Blackburn, Tonko Lead Bipartisan Effort to Level Online Ticket Sales Playing Field for Fans of Live Entertainment

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Washington, April 29, 2016 | Stefanie Wheeler (202-768-5721) | comments

U.S. Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Paul D. Tonko (D-NY) introduced the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016.

This legislation would make the use of computer hacking software (BOTS) to circumvent security measures employed by ticketing sites an “unfair and deceptive practice” under the Federal Trade Commission Act. It would also create a private right of action whereby parties harmed by bots can sue in federal court to recover damages.

“Scalpers have been taking advantage of computer hacking software (BOTS) to circumvent restrictions put in place by online ticketing agents for years. They purchase tickets in mass quantities and sell them at a drastically inflated rate, which unfairly prices most fans of live entertainment out of the market. The entertainers go to great lengths to build relationships with their fans and ensure that they will have access to shows, but scalpers are decimating this experience. The BOTS Act will allow FTC enforcement and a private right of action to be brought against proven online scalpers. It is time to end these anti-consumer tactics and level the online ticket playing field for fans of live entertainment,” said Blackburn.

“People work hard and save money to see a performance or a game, and they shouldn’t be prohibited from buying a ticket online because a computer program beats them to the punch. It’s not right. This legislation puts a stop to this unseemly practice at its root, prohibiting use or sale of bot software and empowering consumers to fight back against price manipulators in the ticket industry. I thank Representative Blackburn for her leadership on this issue, as well as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has already begun to crack down on this problem at the state level,” said Tonko.

Organizations supporting this bipartisan legislation include The Recording Academy, Pandora-Ticketfly, Live Nation Entertainment, as well as the Tennessee Sports and Entertainment Industry Coalition.
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