New Legislation Aims To Nip Bots In The Bud

Concert tickets --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis

Image: © Ocean/Corbis

Lawmakers are fighting bots in the name of fair ticketing practices.

U.S. Representatives Marsha Blackburn (TN-07), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), and Jim Cooper (TN-05) yesterday (Feb. 4) introduced H.R. 708, the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act.

“Computer programs shouldn’t be allowed to cheat people out of fair ticket prices and great entertainment,” Rep. Cooper said.

H.R. 708 would make the use of bots to circumvent security measures employed by ticketing sites an “unfair and deceptive practice” under the Federal Trade Commission Act, and a crime under Title 18 of the U.S. Code. It would also create a private right of action whereby parties harmed by bots can sue in federal court to recover damages.

“Scalpers have been taking advantage of computer hacking software (BOTS) to circumvent restrictions put in place by on-line ticketing agents for years,” said Rep. Blackburn. “They purchase tickets in mass quantities and sell them at a considerably marked up rate, which hurts fans of live entertainment who get priced out of the market. The live entertainment industry goes to great lengths to build relationships with its fans and ensure that they will access to shows. The BOTS Act will allow FTC enforcement, criminal sanctions, and a private right of action to be brought against on-line scalpers. It is time to level the on-line ticket playing field for fans of live entertainment.”

Organizations supporting this bipartisan legislation include The Recording Academy, Live Nation Entertainment, as well as the Tennessee Sports and Entertainment Industry Coalition.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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