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Overseas authorities introduce anti ticket scalping legislation
With concern over secondary ticketing websites purchasing and reselling tickets for popular sporting events and upcoming performances by acts such as Adele, Jerry Seinfield, Guns N’ Roses and Bruce Springsteen having reopened calls for legislation covering ticket reselling and scalping in Australia, authorities in Italy, the United Kingdom and the US state of New York are introducing laws criminalising ticket resale.
Echoing industry and consumer concerns in Australia over the resale of popular tickets at inflated prices, with automated ‘bots’ often auto-buying sought-after seats, overseas authorities are acting to halt the rise of scalpers.
At the end of last month, an amendment to Italy’s 2017 budget law criminalising ticket scalping was been approved by the country’s Chamber of Deputies, clearing the last major hurdle towards being written into law.
The amendment, introduced in early November by Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, prohibits the “sale, or any other form of placement on the secondary market), of tickets” by anyone other than the issuer, and provides for fines of between €5,000 and €180,000 for those caught doing so - both on- and offline.
In addition, secondary ticketing sites will themselves be held responsible if found to be facilitating the illegal resale of tickets, and subject to “removal of the (tickets) or, in severe cases, the blocking of the website through which the infringement has taken place”, with no possibility for damage claims.
While professional touting is officially out, the amendment does allow for the sale of the occasional unwanted ticket, which is “not sanctioned when carried out by a physical person on an occasional basis, provided there is no commercial purpose”.
The move to outlaw secondary ticketing in Italy comes after controversy in the market following an admission by Live Nation Italy’s Managing Director, Roberto de Luca, that his company had been passing inventory directly to Viagogo, leading to several artists, including stadium-filler Vasco Rossi, severing their ties with Live Nation.
The direct links between several national promoters and the secondary market were made public by national TV programme Le Iene (mirroring similar revelations about the UK market made public by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme in February 2012) early last month. While many Italian promoters have exclusive ticketing contracts with primary ticketing company Ticketone, the programme alleged that primary tickets are sold directly to secondary platforms at face value, with 90% of the uplift then passed back to certain promoters.
New York State, USA
In New York, a new law, which will apply from February, sets penalties for people scalping, including those that use ticket bots.
Passed by the state legislature in June, the new law strengthens the legal ramifications for using bots, which was always illegal but required civil prosecution. About a dozen US states have banned the computer programs in one form of another, and legislation to make them illegal on a federal level has been introduced to the US Congress.
Commenting on the legislation on his website, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote “these unscrupulous speculators and their underhanded tactics have manipulated the marketplace and often leave New Yorkers and visitors alike with little choice but to buy tickets on the secondary market at an exorbitant mark-up.
“It’s 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.”
According to a report issued by the New York Attorney General in January, over 140,000 tickets to New York shows were scooped up by just three resale brokers between 2012 and 2014.
In the United Kingdom, Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee has announced that the UK Government is calling for a ban of bots following an evidence session which exposed the "distortion" of the ticketing market caused by the bots.
Leading UK secondary ticketing services, including Viagogo, Get Me In, StubHub and Seatwave, are also set to come under investigation after the Committee said in a statement that there are "clear indications of too close relationships between those selling tickets on the primary market and sellers on the secondary market".
... and Australia
Ticket scalping is the unauthorised reselling of tickets for more than the original price when someone buys a ticket to an event that they will not attend. Ticket scalpers deliberately purchase tickets in advance to resell for a profit when an event is sold out.
In 2014, the Federal Government rejected a recommendation from a Federal Senate inquiry to amend Australian Consumer Law to outlaw ticket scalping, leaving issues surrounding ticket scalping to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Limited anti-scalping legislation in NSW and Queensland prohibits, passed into law before the arrival of bots, prohibits ticket scalping in and around Stadiums Queensland venues such as The Gabba and at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Sydney Football Stadium, and Sydney Olympic Park precinct.
In Victoria, major events such as the AFL Grand Final are protected from scalping.
22nd November 2016 - TICKETEK AND TICKETMASTER RESPOND TO MASSIVE DEMAND FOR ADELE TOUR TICKETS
21st November 2016 - AUSTRALASIAN VENUES STRONG PERFORMERS IN POLLSTAR GLOBAL TICKET SALES RANKINGS
24th September 2016 - GROWING USE OF BOTS FOR HOT SPORT AND ENTERTAINMENT TICKETS REIGNITE SCALPING DEBATE
24th June 2014 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LEAVES TICKET SCALPING ACTION TO THE ACCC
25th September 2013 - VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT TACKLES TICKET SCALPING WITH TOUGHER PENALTIES
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