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Senators unveil live ticket reform bill targeting bots and resellers

Senators unveil live ticket reform bill targeting bots and resellers

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

Washington, DC

A group of US senators has introduced a bill that seeks to make the lives of sports fans and concert-goers easier, after a year of declining Taylor Swift ticket sales. Widely disrupted Due to a technical failure at one of the country’s largest event ticketing companies, Ticketmaster.

The legislation, known as the Fans First Act, proposes new restrictions on ticket sellers, strengthens protections against online bots that swoop in to snatch tickets from real fans, and imposes new disclosure requirements that force ticket sellers everywhere to display “all-in” pricing on their listings, including… So no fees.

The bill introduced by six senators from both political parties could clamp down on predatory activities in secondary ticket markets. It could give ticket buyers better information about prices and the federal government more resources to pursue illegal ticket selling practices.

But by focusing so heavily on the behaviors of ticket resellers and bots, the bill ignores some key demands from consumer groups, and may not mitigate criticism aimed at dominant first-party sellers like Ticketmaster, whose infamous collapse during sales of Swift’s highly anticipated tour sparked Consumer anger is widespread, Congressional hearing And Public reprimand From the artist herself

The legislation reflects some of the proposals it supports Consumer advocacy groups, such as comprehensive quote requirements. But the senators’ announcement Friday did not appear to include other policies demanded by consumer groups, such as guaranteeing ticket holders the right to transfer their own tickets to others or allowing legitimate ticket holders the ability to set a different price. When reselling their tickets for the prices charged by first party ticket sellers.

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Brian Hess of the Ticket Buyers’ Bill of Rights Project, a consumer advocacy group, said the legislation “contains many important consumer protections” and his group supported the bill. “We look forward to working with our sponsors to ensure fans remain at the center of the legislative process.”

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

Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, backed the bill on Friday.

“We support the Fans First Act and welcome legislation that brings positive reform to the live event ticketing process,” the company said in a statement. “We believe it is critical that Congress act to protect fans and artists from predatory resale practices, and we have long supported a federal mandate for blanket pricing, bans on ticket scalping and deceptive websites, among other measures. We look forward to continuing our work with policymakers to advocate for reforms.” and stronger enforcement.”

The bill’s sponsors said it is designed to work with other ticket legislation.

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

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, one of the bill’s leading sponsors, said the Fans First Act would ensure fans get refunds for canceled shows and ban “scalping ticket sales,” where a seller sells a ticket they claim to own but don’t. that. Don’t actually have it.

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Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who co-wrote the Best Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act that became law in 2016 and bans the widespread use of bots to buy tickets, said the Fans First Act would “build on my work to improve the transparency of tickets.” “Sell tickets by strengthening the Federal Trade Commission to enforce consumer protections.”

The bill has the support of groups representing artists, venues and music publishers, lawmakers said in a statement.

The introduction of the Fan Act first came after a similar bill, the Ticket Act, received approval from a key House committee on Wednesday. This bill would also clamp down on speculative ticket sales and require greater pricing transparency for all ticket sellers.

The hype around live event tickets has focused scrutiny on the economic power of giants like Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which is said to be a topic Possible antitrust investigation By the US Department of Justice.

Last January, antitrust advocates called for Live Nation to be broken up Argue At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the real problems were bots and industrial-scale ticket scalping.