Six companies will be paying big bucks as punishment for illegally picking up tickets for Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Ed Sheeran concerts over the past two years.
New York State Attorney General Erich Schneiderman has been leading the governmental charge against ticket bots for about 18 months now, setting the stage for New York to become the first state in the US to make the use of bots illegal. (Congress, in an oddly bipartisan move, passed similar legislation last fall, signed into law by President Obama before he left office.)
Earlier this week, the six companies agreed to pay a combined $4.19 million in penalties and illegally obtained penalties to New York State, according to various reports. The companies were found to have used illegal ticket bot software to grab tickets for U2 and Ed Sheeran, with one company’s particularly successful bot picking up more than 1,000 U2 tickets in one minute, Billboard reports. Other companies were selling tickets in New York without the proper license.
Among those paying fines include Prestige Entertainment ($3.35 million); Presidential Tickets ($125,000); Concert Specials, Inc. ($480,000); Fanfetch Inc. ($55,000); BMC Capital Partners, Inc. ($95,000) and Top Star Tickets ($85,000).
Another company, Componica, was found to have created software designed specifically to get past bot-identifying hurdles, also settled with the AG’s office but those terms were not disclosed.
The companies are required to maintain proper, legal licenses to resell tickets to events in New York States in addition to discontinuing their use of bot software, the Albany Times Union reports.
In a statement released by his office, Schneiderman says “Unscrupulous ticket resellers who break the rules and take advantage of ordinary consumers are one of the major reasons why ticketing remains a rigged system. We will continue to fight to make ticketing a more fair and transparent marketplace, so fans have the opportunity to enjoy their favorite shows and events. Anybody who breaks the law will pay a steep price.”
Keep in mind, these aren’t the first companies to pay up under Schneiderman’s oversight: last April, six ticket brokers were fined nearly $3 million altogether for the use of bots, just months after his report was released.