Fan Freedom Project asks TN Attorney General to investigate ticketing Fan Freedom Project asks TN Attorney General to investigate ticketing
On May 30, 2012, the Fan Freedom Project announced that it has requested that Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper look into the use of... Fan Freedom Project asks TN Attorney General to investigate ticketing

On May 30, 2012, the Fan Freedom Project announced that it has requested that Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper look into the use of ticketing bots in the sale of tickets to a recent concert from rising country singer Eric Church.

Thanks to the investigative work by NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, TN, it was discovered that tickets to a recently sold out concert from Church were purchased by a suspiciously large number of ticket resale outfits located throughout the U.S., including Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; and Massachusetts. Thinking this odd for a concert located in Nashville, TN, NewsChannel 5 contacted the Fan Freedom Project to discuss the situation, which, in turn led to the current request to investigate the sale.

The Fan Freedom Project, which was created to protect the ticket purchasing rights of fans, includes as a tenet of its “Fan Bill of Rights” a request that ticketing companies — specifically ticketing giant Ticketmaster — take definitive steps to bar the use of ticketing bots. These bots allow for users to snatch up hundreds of tickets in seconds, often making it impossible for fans to purchase the best seats to concerts and other high profile events. Under Tennessee law, the use of ticketing bot software is illegal.

Among the evidence collected by NewsChannel 5 that led to the conclusion that ticketing bots may have been at least partly to blame for the large number of tickets going to out-of-state buyers included a database showing who purchased each ticket to the concert. The database showed that tickets for Church’s concert were purchased in 41 states with California topping the list with 495 tickets purchased. In addition there were 248 ticket sold to buyers in New York and 353 to buyers in Massachusetts.

Ticketmaster also provided Church’s management team with evidence that ticketing bots appears to continue attempting to purchase tickets for the concert, despite it having sold all 14,000 seats. In fact, when 30 additional seats were released at a later date, the data showed that there was a convergence of activity indicating that ticketing bots were fighting over the remaining tickets.

While the NewsChannel 5 investigation was unable to receive confirmation from the individuals who allegedly purchased large quantities of tickets that ticketing bots were used, it did receive confirmation from one large purchaser that something other than ticketing bots was at play. According to Nate Porterfield of StubTerminal, who is based in North Carolina and purchased at least 175 tickets, his large purchase came about legally, with the use of fan club presales.

Porterfield indicated to NewsChannel 5 that he signed-up for a large number of fan club memberships, and thus was able to access fan-only ticket pre-sales. In doing so, he managed to gain some highly sought after seats before the general on sale occurred. While this practice is perfectly legal, it does place fans of an artist at a distinct disadvantage.

While Fan Freedom Project’s recent letter to the Tennessee Attorney General did not touch on the fan club issues, it did highlight both the organization’s stance on ticketing bots and what action it hopes the Attorney General’s office takes in relation to what had been uncovered by NewsChannel 5.

“Fan Freedom Project strongly supports citizens’ rights to own their own tickets and to resell them if they wish,” wrote Jon Potter, head of Fan Freedom Project, “But we are also vehemently opposed to behavior that violates Tennessee’s anti-bot laws or that otherwise strips fans of their right to a fair chance to buy the best concert seats available for face-value prices at the box office. We believe it is in the best interest of consumers, the entertainment industry and the state of Tennessee to punish those who are violating the law.”

Potter’s letter continued, indicating that evidence collected suggests that “it is clear that several dozen prime seats could not have ended up in the hands of a single ticket reseller” without the use of ticketing bot software. As the use of such software is illegal in Tennessee, Potter and Fan Freedom Project then asked that the Attorney General look into the incident.

While the Attorney General’s office has not announced a full investigation into the incident, it did respond to NewsChannel 5’s request for comment, indicating that it did receive the letter. “It raises serious questions, and we will review to determine the appropriate course of action,” a spokeswoman told NewsChannel 5.