Attorneys for the principals of Wiseguy Tickets went before a federal court judge in New Jersey earlier today, September 27, seeking to have the computer hacking and fraud case against them dismissed.
The four defendants are accused by U.S. Attorneys of allegedly hacking into the computers Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster division and Tickets.com to procure more than 1.5 million event tickets, which they resold and allegedly generated more than $25 million. The alleged activity occurred from 2002 to 2009.
Attorney Mark Rush, who represents Wiseguy owner Kenneth Lowson, argued before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden that while his client and the other three may have violated Ticketmaster’s terms of service, which prohibit the use of “bot” software to circumvent their security protocols, they did not commit a federal crime.
“The crux of our argument was that there was no violation of creditable criminal law,” Rush told TicketNews, following the hearing. “At most, this may have been an alleged breach of Ticketmaster’s contract, in which case they can bring a lawsuit against my client. But, this whole case hinges on the alleged proscribed use of computer software, and if Ticketmaster didn’t prohibit it, there wouldn’t be a case.”
Federal prosecutors charged the company’s principals with allegedly violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Erez Liebermann argued that the company employed false identities and fake accounts and addresses and other clandestine tools to circumvent online security, which constitutes “traditional fraud.”
“Frankly, this case is like putting lipstick on a pig,” Rush said. “And, to my knowledge, Congress has not legislated against ticket brokering.”
The defendants, Lowson, Kristofer Kirsch, Joel Stevenson and Faisal Nahdi, have received support from several advocacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that have sent briefs to the court arguing that they do not believe a crime was committed.
“We don’t have a statement [concerning today’s proceedings],” Rebekah Carmichael, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey, told TicketNews.
Following oral arguments today, the case was continued to October 12. Lowson, Kirsch and Stevenson are all free on bail, while Nahdi remains at-large. He fled the country earlier this year and has not returned.