The Florida legislature has begun discussions on a proposed bill that regulates the sale of paperless tickets and makes the ticket sale process more transparent.
The proposed bill prohibits an initial ticket seller from using any type of technological means that would have the “effect of prohibiting or restricting the resale of event tickets,” such as restricted paperless ticketing. Initial ticket sellers would also be prohibited from restricting resale or punishing someone for reselling a ticket.
Rep. Matt Gaetz sponsored the House version of the bill, which is identical to the Senate version that was sponsored by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff.
Gaetz told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper that the bill is designed to protect consumers’ ownership of purchased event tickets.
“To me, that really limits the rights of fans to exercise their property rights over tickets once they purchase it,” Gaetz was quoted. “That ticket belongs to you, and you usually have the right [to sell it].”
Florida is the latest state to take up the issue of regulating paperless tickets. The Massachusetts legislature began discussing a similar bill over the summer, and in the spring, North Carolina began deliberations on paperless tickets, too.
Restricted paperless tickets require the purchaser to swipe their credit card at an event’s doors to gain entry. As a result, restricted paperless tickets are often deemed “non-transferable,” or they can only be transferred through the initial ticket seller.
Live Nation’s Ticketmaster division is a proponent of paperless ticketing, as are some sports teams and music artists that have adopted the technology for their events. However, some consumer advocacy groups, such as the Fan Freedom Project, and several major ticket resale companies oppose restricted paperless tickets.
Proponents stress that the technology is secure and can thwart the resale of tickets above face value. Opponents argue that restricted paperless tickets are anti-free market and make the simple task of giving a ticket to a friend or family member virtually impossible.
In addition to taking on the paperless ticketing issue, the proposed Florida legislation also calls for initial ticket sellers to disclose the number of tickets released during public onsales, among other requirements.
The current Florida state Senate bill, SB 392, was referred to Commerce and Tourism, Judiciary, and Budget committees late last month. The Florida House version of the bill, HB 225, was referred to the Economic Affairs Committee, the Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, and the Civil Justice Subcommittee.
The dates for when these committees will discuss the proposed legislation were not disclosed.
In 2009, then-Gov. Charlie Crist signed a ticket resale law that prohibited the use of “bot” software, which is used to surreptitiously procure large blocks of tickets.