As state legislators continue sporadic negotiations over the fate of ticket resale in New York, State Sen. Craig Johnson from Long Island has scheduled a public hearing on “paperless ticket transferability” for Wednesday, June 2, from 12:30pm to 3pm in the state capitol’s Legislative Office Building in Albany.
Johnson chairs the State Senate’s Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, and he is calling for the hearing to gather opinions on the issue of paperless ticketing, which he believes should not be regulated under the proposed legislation about ticket resale. Both Madison Square Garden, which was owned by Long Island-based Cablevision, and Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster reportedly oppose any restrictions or conditions on paperless tickets and they have lobbied Johnson on the issue.
Gov. David Paterson and other legislators are seeking to require that paperless tickets be one of a few options for ticket buyers during check out, which would protect consumers and preserve the state’s vibrant ticket resale market. Ticketmaster has made all or part of certain tours paperless, which makes ticket transferability difficult if not impossible. The company has touted the technology’s consumer protection benefits, too, stressing it offers fans convenience and increased security from counterfeiters.
With its numerous professional sports teams, concert venues and Broadway theaters, New York is one of nation’s leading live entertainment destinations, and as such, the state has become a test ground in the debate over ticket resale laws in recent years. In 2007, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed a law allowing for unfettered ticket resale, which also protected season ticket holders from teams punishing them if they resold their tickets through channels other than the team. The law Spitzer signed had a sunset and required legislators to periodically renew it.
On May 15, that law expired, and the state reverted back to a 1920s law that prohibits ticket resale above $2 over face value, and also seeks the same limit on the amount Ticketmaster and other similar primary ticketers can charge for convenience and other fees. Currently, the older law is in effect, and Gov. Paterson has called for its enforcement, in a move designed to pressure his opponents.
The June 2 hearing is open to the public and will feature invited speakers, but a list of who will be testifying has not yet been determined.
“Paperless ticketing deserves more scrutiny,” said Rich Azzopardi, spokesperson for Sen. Johnson.