Live & Touring

Bot Co. Says It Benefits Ticketmaster, TM Says Hell No

image from celebrityaccess.comConnecticut-based Prestige Entertainment, a ticketing company that uses bots to snag ducats to shows like Broadway’s “Hamilton,” claimed in court that it benefits Ticketmaster and consumers with its service – a statement that Ticketmaster blasted.

TM filed a complaint against Prestige, which Prestige asked to be dismissed. In the dismissal, Prestige apparently claimed its service was beneficial to the ticketing giant. Ticketmaster filed an opposition to the claim in which it pulled no punches, questioning Prestige’s “temerity” to suggest such a claim.

“Such delusional posturing is no substitute for valid legal argument, and as discussed below, Defendants’ motion, rife with citations to irrelevant cases and ipse dixit assertions that contradict Ticketmaster’s express factual allegations, should be denied in its entirety,” Ticketmaster said.

“Defendants characterize the Complaint as an attack on the ticket resale industry. … To be clear, this case is not about stopping resales of tickets that have been procured in accordance with Ticketmaster’s Terms of Use and applicable law. Instead, this case is about fairness, and Defendants’ unfair use of technical measures to give themselves an unfair advantage over consumers in the ticket buying process.“

TM noted that its Terms of Use expressly forbids the use of bots to buy tickets on its website and that, since the passage of the Bots Act in December 2016, doing so is illegal in the U.S.

Ticketmaster claims that Prestige has gobbled up around 30,000 tickets to Hamilton and other shows, according to IQ magazine, and, over a period of 20 months acquired 30 percent to 40 percent of TM’s entire Hamilton inventory. Ticketmaster, in turn, filed a $10 million lawsuit against Prestige in US District Court for Central California last October.

Ticketmaster claims Prestige placed at least 313,528 ticket orders from 9,047 different accounts. Presige argued in turn that “it would be impossible for anyone to access plaintiff’s [Ticketmaster’s] website without exposure to a claim of infringement and violation of law, with plaintiff having the right to pick and choose who gets prosecuted.”

TM countered that saying every user is a potential copyright violator is a straw man argument.

“Ticketmaster expressly permits consumers to ‘view [and therefore, necessarily copy] this Site and its Content to purchase tickets as permitted by these terms for non-commercial purposes,’ … and millions of consumers do exactly that without fear of copyright infringement liability because they honor the restrictions in the License.”

TM seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages believed to be around $10 million, according to IQ, and a court order to stop Prestige’s use of bots.

The full complaint is available here.


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