Similar to what is going on in the New York legislature pertaining to paperless tickets, officials in New Jersey are also grappling with whether to ensure the new ticketing technology is easily transferable.
The New Jersey Assembly’s Regulated Professions Committee unanimously passed the proposed new law, A373, on Thursday, June 10, but not before representatives for ticket brokers and Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster division squared off over paperless tickets. The bill could be put to a vote in front of the full Assembly in the near future, and then the state Senate would have to take it up before it could reach the Governor’s desk for signature.
New Jersey Assemblymen Gary Schaer, Fred Scalera and Elease Evans, the sponsors of the bill, want paperless tickets to either be easily transferable or prohibited in the state, a similar stance that New York Gov. David Paterson and several legislators in that state have taken. They see it as a consumer protection issue, because they believe fans should be able to gift or resell a ticket as they choose. The New Jersey legislators amended the bill in committee to add the paperless language and other items.
Ticketmaster also sees it as a consumer protection issue, but differs with the legislators in that the company sees its proprietary paperless ticketing system as a way to ensure fans receive legitimate tickets, and to shut down the secondary ticket market where tickets are often resold for a premium.
“If an artist wants to keep the potential resale price of a ticket low, once that ticket leaves our site, we would not be able to control the exorbitant mark-up at which a broker could then re-sell that ticket,” NJ.com reported that Jon Bombardieri, a lobbyist representing Ticketmaster, told the committee.
Dustin Brighton, senior manager of eBay’s government affairs division, told the committee that keeping the ticket market open is the way to ensure fans are treated fairly.
“[We] believe that allowing the open and unrestricted transferability of tickets is the only way to preserve the proven consumer benefits of a resale marketplace,” he said.
In addition the proposed bill would eliminate speculative ticket sales because advertised tickets would have to include the rows and seat numbers. Also, venues, promoters and primary ticket companies would have to disclose the number of tickets available for an event. The bill also prohibits the use of software “bots,” computer programs designed to procure blocks of tickets quickly and surreptitiously before the general public can access them.
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. of New Jersey praised the state Assembly committee for taking the first step toward a new law. Pascrell has introduced similar ticket industry legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives called the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act, or the BOSS ACT.
“This is an industry that depends on people paying to get in the door of a concert or event. People shouldn’t be at risk of prey to the greed that is artificially inflating prices for people who only want to get a little entertainment. That’s no way to treat a fan,” Pascrell said.