Ticketmaster fought back against an attempt to have its suit against Prestige Entertainment and related entities dismissed on Monday in a California federal court. Prestige, which Ticketmaster alleges bought millions of dollars in tickets using automated “bots” to then resell on the secondary market, filed a motion to dismiss in December, but the ticketing giant called their reasoning for the motion plainly wrong and “a straw man argument,” according to Law360.com (subscription required).
Much of Ticketmaster’s complaints were built upon so-called “bots” violating the terms of service of their website, including infringing on copyrighted material due to bots needing to copy website pages to operate effectively. Prestige argued that under Ticketmaster’s argument, any individual who accesses that website is infringing on those protected works, since any web browser needs to duplicate pages to display them.
“It would be impossible for anyone to access [Ticketmaster’s] website without exposure to a claim of infringement and violation of law, with [Ticketmaster] having the right to pick and choose who gets prosecuted,” they said.
Monday’s response by Ticketmaster blasted that assertion, as well as the concept that Prestige purchasing tickets for resale helped the company, as “delusional posturing.”
Even if the companies running the bots pay the list price and fees, the practice of rounding tickets up en masse hurts Ticketmaster by stunting its ability to monitor and control demand, by circumventing its website and mobile app traffic, and by forcing the company to go to “extraordinary lengths and expense” to uncover, thwart and refund the purchases, the company said.
This case is the most high profile example of Ticketmaster going after an alleged “bot” broker. The lawsuit, filed in the fall of 2017, alleges that Prestige and related companies used over 9,000 separate accounts to make more than 300,000 purchases over the course of 20 months that Ticketmaster was monitoring such transactions. The lawsuit claims that Prestige managed to buy up to 40% of the available tickets for any performance of Hamilton.
“Each of these orders harmed Ticketmaster and inhibited human consumers from using and enjoying the benefits of Ticketmaster’s ticket purchasing platform,” the suit states. “The inventory of tickets available to consumers who do not use bots is substantially diminished, which has led some consumers to question Ticketmaster’s ability to ensure a level playing field for the purchase of tickets.”
Read the full legal response filed by Ticketmaster here (PDF opens in new window).