This story was updated on Friday, July 2, 2010, at 4:50 p.m. EDT, to include that Gov. David Paterson signed the law today, incorporate the final vote tallies, and reflect attempts to obtain comments from officials.
The New York Legislature this week overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new ticket resale bill that will ensure consumers the choice of what kind of tickets they want to purchase.
The Senate adopted the measure with a 59-2 vote just after midnight yesterday, July 1, and that was followed by a 104-18 vote of the Assembly later in the evening. Both votes reflected strong bipartisan support.
Gov. David Paterson supported the measure and signed it into law today, July 2. The new rules take effect immediately.
The votes are a significant consumer victory that forces Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster division, teams and venues, which lobbied heavily against the measure, to change the way tickets may be initially offered for sale to consumers. New York’s new law instantly becomes the strongest legislation in the country to preserve consumer rights and protect an open, secondary ticket market—making paperless tickets only one of various options a fan can choose at check out.
At its core, the bill requires artists, venues, teams and primary ticket sellers to give consumers the chance to purchase a traditional paper, or other type of ticket, if the seller is utilizing a paperless ticketing system that does not offer independent transferability of the paperless ticket. The technology, which has been promoted by Ticketmaster and others, is not banned from being used in the state but requires an alternative for consumers if the paperless system is closed to independent transfer or resale. Paperless and traditional tickets also must be offered for the same price.
In addition, the bill prohibits primary ticket sellers from conveying tickets “to any secondary ticket reseller owned or controlled by” the seller or its selling agent, and also outlaws the use of software “bots,” which are computer programs that can quickly and surreptitiously procure large blocks of tickets by circumventing Internet security protocols.
Other highlights of the bill include:
-Extends resale law through May 15, 2011
-Allows venues to restrict resale of discounted or free tickets where the
discount or free promotion was targeted at specific individuals or groups
rather than as a promotion to the general public
-Enforces feet-from-the-venue restrictions on resellers
-Requires resellers to register and post a bond
-Requires resellers to disclose ticket resale prices
-Requires venues to disclose obstructed view seats
The overwhelming nature of the state Senate and Assembly votes was a political victory for Paterson, who is not seeking re-election but whose staff worked hard to retain the paperless ticket language.
Morgan Hook, spokesperson for Gov. Paterson, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Sisa Moya, deputy press officer for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, also did not immediately return a message seeking comment, and Austin Shafran, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader John Sampson, declined to comment on the bill.
At the same time, the votes mark a defeat for Ticketmaster, the New York Yankees and others who lobbied against the measure, in part because they contend that paperless tickets offers artists and teams control of whether a ticket can be resold, in addition to offering stringent safeguards against counterfeit tickets. They did not want paperless tickets regulated in part because they believe it could result in some acts choosing not to perform in the state.
The bill states, in part:
A ticket is a license, issued by the operator of a place of entertainment, for admission to the place of entertainment at the date and time specified on the ticket, subject to the terms and conditions as specified by the operator. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, it shall be prohibited for any operator of a place of entertainment, [who offers for sale subscription or season ticket packages] OR OPERATOR’S AGENT, to: (A) restrict by any means the resale of any tickets included in [the] A subscription or season ticket package as a condition of purchase, as a condition to retain such tickets for the duration of the subscription or season ticket package agreement, or as a condition to retain any contractually agreed upon rights to purchase future subscription or season ticket packages that are otherwise conferred in the subscription or season ticket agreement[. Furthermore, it shall be prohibited for any operator of a place of entertainment to]; (B) deny access to a ticket holder who possesses a resold subscription or season ticket to a performance based solely on the grounds that such ticket has been resold[.]; OR (C) EMPLOY A PAPERLESS TICKETING SYSTEM UNLESS THE CONSUMER IS GIVEN AN OPTION TO PURCHASE PAPERLESS TICKETS THAT THE CONSUMER CAN TRANSFER AT ANY PRICE, AND AT ANY TIME, AND WITHOUT ADDITIONAL FEES, INDEPENDENT OF THE OPERATOR OR OPERATOR’S AGENT. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING, AN OPERATOR OR OPERATOR’S AGENT MAY EMPLOY A PAPERLESS TICKETING SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT ALLOW FOR INDEPENDENT TRANSFERABILITY OF PAPERLESS TICKETS ONLY IF THE CONSUMER IS OFFERED AN OPTION AT THE TIME OF INITIAL SALE TO PURCHASE THE SAME TICKETS IN SOME OTHER FORM THAT IS TRANSFERRABLE INDE PENDENT OF THE OPERATOR OR OPERATOR’S AGENT INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PAPER TICKETS OR E-TICKETS. THE ESTABLISHED PRICE FOR ANY GIVEN TICKET SHALL BE THE SAME REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OR TRANSFERABILITY OF SUCH TICKET. THE ABILITY FOR A TICKET TO BE TRANSFERRED INDEPENDENT OF THE OPERATOR OR OPERATOR’S AGENT SHALL NOT CONSTITUTE A SPECIAL SERVICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF IMPOSING A SERVICE CHARGE PURSUANT TO SECTION 25.29 OF THIS ARTICLE.