The U.K. government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport is to hold a series of workshops with the live-entertainment industry to tackle the escalating problem of ticket fraud.

The U.K. government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport is to hold a series of workshops with the live-entertainment industry to tackle the escalating problem of ticket fraud.

The workshops, scheduled to take place in the next four to five months, have been confirmed following a Nov. 10 meeting between the industry and DCMS secretary of state Tessa Jowell. The DCMS is the department which has primary dealings with the national music business.

Jowell's decision to hold the workshops is seen as a significant move in the right direction for the industry. "At least, it is some progress," comments Peter Tudor, NAA chairman and director of sales and marketing at Wembley London, owner of Wembley Arena. "This is not just about the man standing on the street corner selling (unauthorized) tickets, but also about Internet fraud."

Participants in the November meeting included the country's Concert Promoters Association, the National Arenas Assn. and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers.

In July 2004, British regulatory body the Office of Fair Trading agreed to investigate the increasing epidemic of ticket reselling, also known as ticket touting or scalping. However, the industry has traditionally had difficulty in persuading the government to pass legislation that would encourage law enforcement authorities to take action.

"There are lots of different types of legislations that could apply to ticket touting, but no one is enforcing them because touting is still not perceived as a serious crime," Tudor explains.