The EU Parliament has taken a position that will ban the use of automated software programs (“ticket bots”) in the purchase of event tickets, siding with the promoter and artist lobby in declaring such practices to be a bane on the consumer. The position, which could be adopted in June and could take up to two years to be fully realized as law, also includes a provision that would require professional resellers to disclose who they are when listing tickets for sale, according to a press release issued by the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT).
“This is the first time that the world’s largest trading bloc has set a common standard for ticket resale in cultural and sports events,” the release reads. “A harmonized approach will prove critical in dealing with scalping, as secondary ticketing companies often exploit the gaps between different countries’ legislation.”
“Bots” have already been outlawed in a number of other large jurisdictions, including the United States and parts of Canada. While the ban on bots will set a baseline regulation on the practice across the continent, individual countries will be free to implement harsher restrictions on the industry should they so choose.
Supporters of the move quoted in the release include the European Music Managers Alliance, the German Promoters Association BDKV, and the Fan Fair Alliance in the UK, which has long served as a vocal mouthpiece for promoter interests and their preferred and price-capped marketplace, Twickets. The listed members of FEAT are a who’s who of promoters in Europe, who banded together earlier this year to push for harsher restrictions on the free market for event tickets, precipitating this announcement.
In addition to forcing professional brokers to identify themselves in order to trade legally in the EU, the release indicates that the promoter lobby hopes to go even further in its effort to write the laws of the EU in a way that boxes out the resale industry.
“This represents the first step in harmonising regulation across Europe,” reads a quote attributed to Sam Shemtob and Katie O’Leary of FEAT. “As well as requiring professional sellers to identify themselves, it also enables member states to go further and potentially regulate the resale price of tickets.”
“There is still much to be done and we will be campaigning for tougher legislation in the next parliamentary term.”
A price cap had been proposed in Ontario along with its ban on “bots” but Rob Ford’s government threw out those measures earlier this week, calling such measures “unenforceable” and pointing out that they would lead to resale being “driven off secure channels” and into the black market. Ontario went a step further and implemented new requirements that addressed the lack of transparency for event promoters and venues letting consumers know how many tickets are available for an event at any given time.