Music Industry

President Obama’s Parting Gift to Concert Fans: Signing the BOTS Act

There might only be a little more than a month left in President Obama’s administration, but he’s leaving on a high note for concert goers and sports fans: He’s been sent, and will likely sign, legislation that would crack down on ticket bots.

In a move that follows action taken by New York State a few weeks ago, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act. A similar bill was passed by the Senate last week, introduced by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

“Scalpers who cut in line, then buy mass quantities of tickets just to re-sell them at higher prices, make it difficult for people to get tickets for themselves and their families,” Moran said in a statement released by his office. “This bill helps level the playing field for consumers and takes aim at artificially inflated prices. Ticket bots have affected people across the country, and the need to end this growing practice is reflected in the widespread support in the Senate.”

The legislation not only had bipartisan support but brought some star power to Congress this summer, with testimony from “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller. He said that bots, software programs that override ticket selling websites and snap up tickets the moment they go on sale and force music and sports fans to pay more than face value for tickets to sold-out events, are partly responsible for the cost of tickets to “Hamilton” up past $1,000.

Gary Adler, executive director and counsel of the National Association of Ticket Brokers, says “people should not be competing with ticket-hording software to make a purchase. The professional resale companies that are part of NATB support efforts in states and in Washington, DC to stop the use of nefarious software bots. We look forward to Congress continuing its work by addressing other practices that harm consumers and the function of an open secondary resale market for tickets.”

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 521 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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