A proposal in Vermont to ban the use of software “bots” that surreptitiously obtain event tickets is gaining momentum in the state legislature.
The bill, H.722, was unanimously approved by the Commerce and Economic Development Committee in the state House of Representatives recently, and it will now move onto the state Senate. It is expected to be discussed in the Senate by the Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee, and it could receive a full legislative vote by the end of April.
“With this bill, we saw agreement from all sides,” state Rep. Jason Lorber, the bill’s lead sponsor, told TicketNews. “It’s a nonpartisan issue that takes a sensible approach to solving a problem. The end result we’re striving for is to make ticket buying more fair and equitable.”
Bot software, which other states have also moved to ban, allows users to bypass Internet security protocols to scoop up large blocks of tickets quickly from Ticketmaster or other primary ticketing sites.
Initially, Vermont legislators also sought to place a cap on prices that ticket resellers could charge for resold tickets, but Lorber said the legislature has been more consumed with various jobs bills, and sponsors of the bill believed the bot language could pass at this time while the price cap language might hold up passage.
“There was a lack of time,” Lorber said. He did not elaborate on whether he would push for price caps in the future.
The current language in the bill reads as follows:
A person shall not intentionally use a computer program or other software to interfere with or circumvent on a ticket seller’s website a security measure, access control system, or other control or measure used to ensure an equitable ticket buying process for tickets of admission to a sporting event, theatre, musical performance, or place of public entertainment or amusement of any kind.
A person who suffers damages or injury as a result of a violation of this section may sue for: (1) appropriate equitable relief; (2) reasonable attorney’s fees and costs; and (3) the greater of: (A) actual damages suffered; or (B) $25,000 per violation of this section.