British Government Commits to Tackle Online Ticket Bots
The promise came just prior to artists publicly maligning StubHub -- at an event the secondary ticketing site had sponsored.
The British government has committed to look into the misuse of computer programs, or “bots,” to buy up concert tickets for later resale. The use of bots to unlawfully harvest tickets was debated in Parliament after MP Nigel Adams proposed an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill that would criminalize their use.
The proposed regulatory changes follow on from House of Representatives voting to pass the Better Online Ticket Sales Act, or BOTS Act, last month. That bill is now being debated by the Senate.
A similar discussion is now going on among politicians in the United Kingdom, with Adams’ amendment receiving strong support from members of the Digital Economy Bill committee, who debated the issue in the House of Commons at the start of the week.
“This is not a silver bullet,” Adams told members. “Ticket touting is a huge problem and touts use a variety of methods to obtain tickets. There is also the issue of regulation of secondary resellers. However, the new clause would address one problematic aspect: it would help to get a higher proportion of tickets into the hands of genuine fans on their first attempt,” he went on to say, citing the high number of tickets for Black Sabbath’s ‘The End’ farewell world tour that were available to buy on secondary ticketing sites, including Viagogo, Stubhub and Seatwave, at the same time that they went on pre-sale with the primary ticket vendor.
According to Adams, just one hour after the O2 pre-sale began secondary vendors had over 2,000 tickets listed for resale.
“When dedicated re-sellers, who purchase as many tickets as they can without any intention of attending, dominate the market, fans who want to buy the tickets that other fans cannot use can have no confidence that they are not being ripped off,” he went on to say, striking out at what he termed “parasitical touts.” He said that the proposed amendments are supported by “every secondary and primary ticketing site that I have spoken to.”
In response, MP Matthew Hancock, Minister for Digital and Culture, said “there remains a problem to be solved” and called for a meeting with industry representatives to discuss the issue to take place before the end of the year.
“We fully support Nigel Adams MP in pursuing this issue,” said Adam Webb, campaign Manager for the FanFair Alliance. “The abuse of software by touts to hack into ticketing sales and scalp inventory is a major bugbear for genuine fans and it is an issue where we need clarity in the law. However, as was also made clear by MPs at the Committee and also by the Minister, action against bots is not a silver bullet. To make the ticketing market function better for audiences, we also need proper enforcement of existing consumer law and regulation of the Big Four resale platforms.”
One of those ‘Big Four,' eBay-owned secondary ticketing site StubHub, unwillingly found itself fielding more criticism at Wednesday night's Q Awards, held at London’s Roundhouse venue, this time from artists.
"Apologies to my fans for ever having to deal with secondary ticketing sites. I hope we see the end of them. They definitely suck," said James Bay, collecting the award for best solo act, reports the BBC. Bastille and Jack Garratt also hit out secondary vendors during their acceptance speeches