Smartfox Media has hit back after Frankfurt-based promoter Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK) claimed victory in a legal battle over secondary tickets being sold on the Ventic online platform for Depeche Mode concerts in Germany.

"Smartfox Media is allowed to continue selling tickets for the group Depeche Mode through the ventic platform," said the Roermond, Netherlands-based CEO Martin Josten in a statement to Billboard.biz. He said that Marek Lieberberg had failed in his attempt to have the District Court of Munich totally prohibit Smartfox Media from offering tickets for the group Depeche Mode via the Ventic platform.

As previously reported (Billboard.biz, May 27), MLK had obtained an interim injunction forbidding all trading in the tickets. However, Josten insists the ruling is no longer as far-reaching as this initial injunction.

"This interim injunction has now been cancelled in some key points and limited to very specific tickets, although these no longer play a role in practise," said Josten.

In its ruling the court referred to a leading decision by the Federal Court of Justice on the subject of the "resale of admission tickets." According to this, trading in tickets is not permitted - but only if the dealer purchases the tickets directly on the promoter's sales system while concealing his intention to resell them. However, it is not forbidden to deal in all other tickets, for instance if tickets are purchased by a private individual who is not able to attend an event or if tickets are bought on other free platforms.

As Josten explains: "Inasmuch as the media reported that it was also prohibited to sell tickets at a higher price than that stated on the ticket itself, this is incorrect. The price is in no way important [legally]."

In the past, Smartfox Media had won in similar court cases against concert promoters and various Bundesliga soccer clubs, in some cases thanks to court rulings in their favor, in others as a result of suits being withdrawn.

"There are only a very few markets where people are so hypocritical as in the ticket market," Josten caims. "Primarily it is the honest fan that has to be protected. However, in fact promoters are in direct or indirect contact with competitors like Smartfox, e.g. through their own platforms or 'sharing exchanges,' and try to get rid of an unwanted competitor through the courts."

With its Internet portal www.ventic.com, Smartfox Media operates one of the largest Internet portals for ticket re-sale. Since 2006 fans have also had the possibility of selling their tickets directly through the ventic platform.