The specter of Donald Trump may be hanging over the Oval Office, but President Obama isn’t done just yet. Today, Obama signed into law the Better Online Ticket Sales Act, or the BOTS Act of 2016, which, according to a statement from the White House Press Secretary, will “prohibit the circumvention of control measures used by Internet ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for certain events.”
In simpler terms: the law will make it much easier for fans to buy tickets to shows at face value right when they go on sale.
The battle against bots is one that has been raging for some time within the industry, as artists, managers and promoters alike all pushed back against technologies that snapped up large swaths of tickets before flipping them on secondary markets for vastly inflated prices, cutting out both regular fans and cash-strapped die-hards in the process. The BOTS Act will make those practices illegal and outlaw the sale of tickets obtained through such technologies “if the seller participated in, had the ability to control, or should have known about the violation.”
“On behalf of artists, venues, teams, and especially fans, Ticketmaster is pleased that the BOTS Act is now a federal law,” reads a Ticketmaster statement commending the law. “Ticketmaster worked closely with legislators to develop the BOTS Act and we believe its passage is a critical step in raising awareness and regulating the unauthorized use of Bots.”
The bill was originally introduced in February 2015 by U.S. Representatives Paul D. Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). But tensions around the issue intensified over the course of this year, when tickets for tours by Adele and Bruce Springsteen disappeared almost instantly after being made available for sale — only to appear at much higher price points on the secondary market — and Hamilton founder Lin-Manuel Miranda decried the practice in a New York Times op-ed in June titled, “Stop The Bots From Killing Broadway.”
Earlier this month, the legislation cleared its final hurdle before reaching the president, passing the House of Representatives on Dec. 7. The issue has also cropped up overseas, with companies like StubHub and Live Nation becoming the target of investigations in Britain and Italy, among others.