Earlier in December, New York passed legislation banning the use of ticket bots — softwares through which scalpers can automatically buy large quantities of tickets as soon as they go on sale, allowing the users to resell the tickets through secondhand sources at a substantially marked up value. Upon passing the ban, Governor Anthony Cuomo stated, “[The practice of ticket bots is] predatory, it’s wrong and, with this legislation, we are taking an important step towards restoring fairness and equity back to this multi-billion dollar industry.”
Now, the campaign against ticket bots has reached the national stage. Consequence of Sound reports that President Obama has signed legislation which will make the use of ticket-purchasing softwares with the intent of scalping a federal offense:
“President Obama has signed into law the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016, which makes it a federal offense to use computer software to buy tickets online. The bill, which was passed by the Senate last month and the House last week, deems ticketing bots ‘an unfair and deceptive practice’ in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.”
CoS goes on to note that Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, the BOTS Act’s republican sponsor, asserted that the bill will “level the playing field” for ticket-buyers. The BOTS Act doesn’t just aim to penalize scalpers, but also to recompense legitimate potential buyers who were unable to purchase tickets due to the swift actions of bots and the steep margins set by the systematic abusers. To this point, CoS reports, “As part of the signed legislation, the federal government can also intervene and file civil suits on behalf of people who were shut out of purchasing tickets due to scalpers using ticketing bots.”
It’s not entirely clear whether this stipulation of the bill would retroactively extend to offenders; it’s also unclear how effective the BOTS Act will be in general, given its unique nature. However, the precedent set by Schlesinger, et. al. v. Ticketmaster – the $400 million class action lawsuit which provided the website’s customers with free tickets and vouchers following claims that the site’s fees were misleading – suggests that such reparatory measures could be possible to achieve.
Regardless of the bill’s efficacy, the BOTS Act seems to be a measure that can only serve to help legitimate consumers and regulate illicit reselling. With just over a month left in his term, President Obama has managed to once again stand up for downtrodden citizens.
Via: Consequence of Sound