Hannah Montana Ticket Uproar Prompts Lawsuits
Public outcry over the secondary market's impact on Hannah Montana ticket sales has spurred state attorneys general in Missouri, Arkansas and Pennsylvania to take action.Public outcry over the secondary market's impact on Hannah Montana ticket sales has spurred state attorneys general in Missouri, Arkansas and Pennsylvania to take action.
A week from today, Ticketmaster will seek a preliminary injunction in Federal District Court in Los Angeles to stop RMG Technologies from accessing the Ticketmaster system through automated programs. Ticketmaster believes RMG provides resellers repeated access to Ticketmaster.com via a proxy server that moves these buyers to the head of the digital line.
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon last week sued three ticket resellers on charges they violated state consumer protection laws. Also last week, Arkansas AG Dustin McDaniel said he was investigating resellers in that state, as is Pennsylvania AG Tom Corbett. The attention from state legal eagles speaks to the huge demand for tickets to the 54-date Hannah Montana tour, which begins Oct. 18 in St. Louis.
Adding fuel to the fire are the core demographics being impacted -- children and their parents. "You're dealing with a mother/child dynamic here that can lead to a very upset child and a very angry mother, and that certainly exacerbates things," says Ticketmaster VP/assistant general counsel Joe Freeman.
Freeman says Ticketmaster is "doing everything we can to insure fair access to the public," adding that the company does not own or control the tickets. "Ticketmaster is acting on behalf of its clients -- the show promoter, the venue -- to ensure the fairest distribution to the public, but we do not own the tickets. It's not our inventory to decide how it's distributed."
A sophisticated computerized ticketing system can sell out a large arena in minutes. Given production considerations and "holds" for fan clubs and other constituencies, the actual number of tickets that may be available to the general public for a given show may be only a few thousand, even if the listed capacity of the venue is 18,000 or more.
"On top of that, with the advent of the Internet age and particularly the resell of tickets on the Internet, the availability of tickets on the resell market is a lot more visible and obvious to consumers, who 20 years ago might not have had a real idea of what was going on [there]," Freeman points out.