EU Parliament Passes Digital Services Act, Adding Ticket Regulations
IndustryLegalWorld July 7, 2022 Itir Yildiz
The European Parliament has voted to approve the Digital Services Act (DSA), to better deal with online harms. New regulations tied to the legislation will include several measures related to the sale and resale of tickets online in the EU, including verification of professional sellers, requirements for annual reporting, and measures that some believe will help make ticket buying clearer and safer for consumers.
New rules largely follow the line pushed by touring industry insiders, who have long sought stricter regulations on ticket resale marketplaces. Organizations including the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) and European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) cheered the vote, which went 539 votes in favor to 54 against.
“FEAT welcomes the new Digital Services Act, a landmark legislation aiming to protect consumers online,” says Neo Sala, Director of FEAT and Founder and CEO of Doctor Music, states. “We hope that it will help prevent manipulative and exploitative practices taking place on resale sites and pave the way for tougher laws to ban profiteering altogether.”
“The European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) is very pleased to see new rules which protect both artists and the ticket-buying public have been approved by the European Parliament,” adds Per Kviman, CEO of Versity Music and Chair of EMMA. “This is an important step towards increasing accountability and to prevent scams, which will contribute towards a healthier European touring industry.”
The new rules hold ticket resale platforms responsible for content provided by third parties, including clear and conspicuous notification during the buying process that the tickets listed are provided by a third party. Tricking or manipulating the consumers by displaying pop-ups on websites is another issue discussed within the new regulation. Referred as “dark patterns”, user interfaces designed in such a way as to trick users into making certain decisions, such as “pop-ups” or giving prominence to specific choices will be prohibited.
Online ticket platforms are required to conduct a transparent policy such as producing comprehensible and publicly-available annual reports on any content moderation activities relating to infringements of the law or the platform’s terms and conditions. This will help advertising partners such as Google and enforcement agencies comprehend the scale of the problem and the harmful activity.
The European Commission also notes that every Member State should appoint a Digital Services Coordinator (DSC) to enforce the rules laid out in the DSA, with far-reaching powers of investigation. The DSCs will be able to carry out on-site inspections, interview staff members and require the production of documents and information. Penalties for non-compliance can reach up to 6% of platforms’ global turnover.
“Whilst ticket resale platforms can claim to be exempt from liability for content provided by third parties, provided they are not active hosts, they could now be held responsible for tickets listed in contravention of national laws, where fans are led to believe that the ticket is provided by the platform itself or that the seller is acting under its control. As a result, resale platforms should make it clear throughout the buying process that the tickets listed are provided by a third party.”
Last Updated on July 7, 2022 by Dave Clark