Two days after the public hearing in New York on the issue of paperless tickets, the two central figures in debate, Gov. David Paterson and State Sen. Craig Johnson, remain at odds over whether to legislate the technology.
At the hearing held Wednesday, June 2, representatives StubHub, Live Nation Entertainment, the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), Madison Square Garden (MSG) and the New York Yankees, among others, testified before a State Senate committee about the pros and cons of the proposed law to deal with paperless tickets, which would require paperless tickets to be one of several options a customer can choose when they buy an event ticket.
Live Nation, MSG, digital ticket company Veritix, the Yankees and a representative from the Broadway League all spoke out against there being any restrictions or requirements on paperless tickets, which they all said was essentially like banning the use of the technology.
On the other side, led by StubHub, the NATB and other ticket brokers, is the argument that offering the option of traditional paper or paperless tickets at check out protects consumers should they decide to resell or give away their ticket. The group that wants paperless tickets left alone, who have an advocate in Sen. Johnson, staunchly defend the technology as being consumer friendly because it offers convenience and protection from counterfeiters and the secondary market. Paperless tickets can be resold or distributed but only through proprietary exchanges run by Live Nation’s Ticketmaster and Veritix, and artists can prohibit the resale of paperless tickets to their shows altogether.
Gov. Paterson is a proponent of the language requiring alternatives to paperless tickets, and he stressed that it is not a ban on paperless tickets. Artists, venues and ticket companies can still use them under the proposed legislation however they want, but all they have to do is offer the option of a traditional or paper ticket at the same time. Through a spokesperson, he blasted Sen. Johnson for stalling on the issue. The New York Assembly has passed the legislation, but it awaits a vote by the State Senate.
“It’s unfortunate that the Senator Johnson seems so reluctant to address consumer protection, and his foot-dragging has put the State in the position of operating under antiquated laws,” Morgan Hook, spokesperson for Gov. Paterson, told TicketNews in a statement. “The current agreement between the Governor and Assembly is in no way a ban on paperless ticketing. That is a misrepresentation that the opponents to consumer choice are continuing to advance.”
During his opening remarks at the public hearing, Sen. Johnson was equally critical of Gov. Paterson for not supporting more study of the issue of paperless tickets.
“For reasons I have yet to get a satisfactory answer on, Governor Paterson has chosen to ignore his own secretary of state, and a pre-existing agreement that let her report govern any extension of the secondary ticket market, and insist that the paperless system be altered in any final legislation,” Sen. Johnson said, referring to a report issued earlier this year by New York Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “Frankly, I find the governor’s insistence that we go forward without the facts to be bizarre, as does the editorial board of the New York Daily News. They called it: ‘hair-brained.'”
Sen. Johnson’s spokesperson Rich Azzopardi told TicketNews that only two days have passed since the hearing, and the Senator hopes to continue negotiating. “We have not been in touch with the Governor’s office since the hearing, but we still believe that a resolution to this issue before the end of the session is likely.”