Ticketmaster filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut-based broker Prestige Entertainment last year for allegedly using illegal technology “bots” to score thousands of popular tickets to re-sell.
In 2015, Prestige Entertainment purchased a large amount of tickets from the site for a boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. This continued as the brokers bought 30,000 tickets to the Broadway best-selling show, Hamilton. Ticketmaster is suing Prestige for copyright infringement, breach of contract, fraud, and violation of both state and federal computer abuse laws. The ticketing giant is also seeking damages totaling $10 million.
Late last year, Prestige filed a motion to dismiss seven of the ten claims. Ticketmaster fired back, stating that Prestige managed to buy up to 40 percent of available tickets for any performance of Hamilton by using 9,000 separate accounts. According to the suit, Prestige was able to pass through the site’s CAPTCHA and security features by using these bots to capture thousands of tickets. The company claimed that these orders harmed Ticketmaster and consumers “from using and enjoying the benefits of Ticketmaster’s ticket purchasing platform.”
However, in February, the giant took a blow when a court dismissed Ticketmaster’s claim that Prestige violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by violating terms of their website. The court found that Ticketmaster’s cease and desist letter did not show that it disallowed the brokers to use its site.
The latest news in this suit is a U.S. District Court ruling to reject Prestige’s motion to dismiss Ticketmaster’s lawsuit. On May 29, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright in California came to the decision that the facts supported a legitimate claim. He explained in his decision that while Prestige are not “ordinary internet users,” their evasion of Ticketmaster’s policies are a “foundational element of their business.”
According to Pollstar, this isn’t the first time Prestige found itself in trouble with bots. Last year, the company paid a settlement of $3.35 million after an investigation by New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who uncovered the state’s problem with ticket bots. It was concluded that Prestige used two bots and thousands of Ticketmaster accounts to purchase New York concert tickets, including over 1,000 to a U2 concert in 2014.
Prestige must now face litigation in court.
Ticketmaster released the following statement to Pollstar:
We’re very happy with the court’s ruling because it means that the full extent of these unfair practices will have an opportunity to be fully heard by the court and we expect to prevail on all of our claims. While Ticketmaster continues to lead the fight against ticket bots to ensure fans have fair access to tickets, holding those who cheat the ticket buying process accountable is critical to protect consumers. This case is another example of why stronger laws banning the use of BOTS and greater enforcement of the existing laws, like the Federal BOTS Act, are needed.