Ticket resale legislation in New York state, considered one of the more progressive in the country for protecting consumers and opening up the secondary market, is moving toward being extended for another year.
The law first took effect in 2007, and it allows for unfettered ticket resale throughout the state, and also prohibits sports teams from punishing fans who resell season tickets. It is set to expire May 15, but for next year the legislature is considering adding language to ban the use of software “bots,” surreptitious software programs that some brokers have used that can quickly scoop up large blocks of tickets.
New York would be among the latest in a string of states that have considered such bans, including Pennsylvania. States have looked into banning the software for a few years, spurred into action in the fallout from the Hannah Montana ticketing controversy a few years ago, but the matter took on even more urgency following the federal indictments of the principals of Wiseguy Tickets. The company allegedly used such programs to procure tens of millions of dollars worth of tickets that it then resold.
Legislators are expected to vote on the extension in the next few weeks, at which time it could be approved. State Assemblyman Steve Englebright and state Sen. Craig Johnson, both Democrats and sponsors of extension bills in their respective legislative branches, did not return messages for comment.
“I think it’s great legislation, the whole industry needs it,” Jason Berger, managing director of New York-based AllShows.com, told TicketNews. Berger is one of a few brokers who have lobbied state legislators about extending the law. “There are a few bad apples that have used bots, and that ruins it for everyone.”
While brokers succeeded in getting the bot language inserted, it appears that they did not succeed in having language included that would require paperless tickets be completely transferable across various platforms.
While still a small segment of the concert and sports ticketing landscape, paperless tickets are being utilized by a growing number of teams, artists and venues, and the matter has become an increasingly important issue for brokers and many consumers because of the lack of transferability. Both Ticketmaster and Veritix, the two largest proponents of paperless ticketing, allow for various degrees of ticket transfer within their proprietary systems, but fans could not transfer paperless tickets between the two, or between one of them and other ticket exchanges such as StubHub or TicketNetwork.
The issue could be discussed again by legislators over the course of the year; they did not believe they had enough information to act on the matter this session.
“Consumers think the issue of paperless ticketing means convenience, but in fact it’s quite the opposite because of the lack of transferability,” Berger said.
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.