Senators unveil direct ticket reform bill aimed at bots and resellers

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The dome of the US Capitol building is seen at sunset on October 17, 2023 in Washington, DC.


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A year after Taylor Swift tickets went on sale, a group of US senators has introduced a bill to make life easier for sports fans and concertgoers. It is highly disturbed Due to a technical failure at Ticketmaster, one of the largest event ticketing companies in the country.

The legislation, known as the Fans First Act, proposes new restrictions on ticket resellers, increases protections against online bots that rip tickets from genuine fans and imposes new disclosure requirements that force ticket sellers to display the “all-in” price everywhere. Their listings include any fees.

A bill by a half-dozen senators from both political parties could curb predatory practices in secondary ticket markets. This could provide better price information to ticket buyers and more resources for the central government to go after illegal ticketing practices.

But by focusing on the behaviors of ticket resellers and bots, it appears to be giving dominant first-party sellers like Ticketmaster a pass. Widespread consumer anger, A congressional investigation And A general condemnation From the artist.

This legislation reflects some of the supported proposals Consumer advocacy groups, the need to display the price of all etc. But the senators’ announcement on Friday did not appear to include other policies sought by consumer groups, such as guaranteeing ticket holders the right to transfer their own tickets to others or allowing them the ability to set a different price. than the price set by the first-party ticket sellers when reselling their tickets.

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Attendees of “Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour” at SoFi Stadium on August 7, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, endorsed the bill on Friday.

“We support the Fan First Act and welcome legislation that will bring positive reform to live event ticketing,” the company said in a statement. “We believe it is an important act of Congress to protect fans and artists from predatory resale practices, and have long supported the federal government’s all-price-fixing mandate, banning speculative ticketing and deceptive websites, and other measures. We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers to advocate for even stronger reforms and enforcement.

Sponsors of the bill said it was designed to work in tandem with other ticket laws.

“The current ticketing system is riddled with problems and does not meet the needs of fans, teams, performers or venues,” said Texas Republican Sen. said John Cornyn, one of the lead editors of Fans First Act. “This legislation will rebuild confidence in the ticketing system by cracking down on bots and others who take advantage of consumers through price gouging and other predatory practices and by increasing price transparency for ticket buyers.”

Minnesota Democratic Senate. Amy Klobuchar, another of the bill’s leading sponsors, said the first law would ensure fans get refunds for canceled shows and ban “speculative ticket sales.” Not really own.

And Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who co-authored the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act that became law in 2016, said the Fans First Act, which prohibits the use of automated software to buy tickets in bulk. “Based on my work to improve ticketing transparency by strengthening the FTC to enforce consumer protection”

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In a release, lawmakers said the bill was backed by groups representing artists, venues and music publishers.

The fan-first legislation was introduced after a similar bill, the Ticket Act, cleared a key House committee on Wednesday. That bill would curb speculative ticket sales and require greater price transparency from all ticket sellers.

The frenzy over live event tickets has put the economic power of giants like Ticketmaster and Live Nation under scrutiny. Probable pessimism study By the US Department of Justice.

This January, antitrust advocates called for the dissolution of Live Nation argued A Senate Judiciary Committee investigation found the real problems were bots and industry-wide scalping of tickets.

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