The US Congress has progressed a bill to prevent touts from using “bot” software to snap up in-demand tickets, which they then sell on at vastly-inflated prices, before genuine fans can complete the purchase process.
The Better Online Ticket Sales Act, or BOTS Act of 2016, will prohibit by law circumvention of security measures online which prevent machines from buying tickets in bulk. The Bill also makes the sale of tickets obtained through violation of security measures illegal. The Bill would give the Federal Trade Commission and states powers of enforcement against violations. You can read the full text of this Act here.
New York State governor Andrew Cuomo also signed a bill in late November which criminalises ticketing bots in the state of New York. Ticket touting has been a particularly severe problem for popular Broadway shows – a problem which the London production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has also seen. Several other US states, in addition to Canada, had also taken similar measures previously. President Obama is expected to sign the BOTS Act into law before he leaves office.
Nigel Adams MP commented, “I think this is a really encouraging sign for banning these bots in the UK, and I hope the Bill is well received. Efforts in the US and Canada show that this is an international problem and that the momentum behind legislative efforts is deserved – others also believe that we, as politicians, can help artists, sportspeople, and actors avoid the scourge of touts. Following the cross-party recommendation of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee to take action along the lines of the amendment on this subject that I originally drafted, I hope the Government will join together with our American allies to combat digital touting by taking action in the Digital Economy Bill during its next stage, the Second Reading in the Lords.”