New York Moves To Criminalize Ticket Bots
When Michael Rapino became CEO of Live Nation he promised to make buying a concert ticket fairer. Little has changed, with LN owned Ticketmaster blocking D2F ticketers and StubHub legitimizing overpriced ticket resales. Now legislators are attempting to do what the industry has failed to do.
Legislators in New York have toughened the rules for the use of ticket purchasing software, often called bots, to snap up event tickets as they go on sale.
On Friday, New York's state assembly voted to make it a criminal offense to employ bots. While the use of bots was illegal before, violators only faced civil penalties in the rare instances when they were caught.
Under the new proposal, civil penalties would be increased and expanded to include any individuals who knowingly resell or offer to resell tickets that were purchased with ticket bot software. The measure would also classify the use or control of ticket purchasing software and the reselling of such tickets as a class A misdemeanor, which could result in imprisonment and fines.
"This kind of ticket scalping has had a very negative impact on fans that want to enjoy sporting and entertainment events," said Speaker Heastie. "Ticket scalpers often buy up as many tickets as possible with this illegal software and then resell tickets at prices that many New Yorkers simply cannot afford. This measure aims to discourage the tactic by criminalizing this offense."
"New Yorkers have been dealing with this frustrating ticket buying experience for too long," said Assembly member Marcos Crespo, chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and sponsor of the bill. "Countless have lost opportunities to experience the richness of our arts and entertainment industry because there are those willing to circumvent by using automated software to deprive the average consumer of access to entertainment venues. The top music, theatre and athletic talent of our nation have priced their events at levels affordable to the mass public. With this bill becoming law, we will ensure the prices to see such talent will be within reach of all New Yorkers."