A pair of bills designed to tackle the use of “bots” in ticket purchasing have passed out of committee this week, with unanimous support. House Bills 5661 and 5662, dubbed the “Taylor Swift Bills” by their sponsors, will now be considered by the full House after members of the Regulatory Reform Committee recommended the bills be moved on unanimously.

“The goal is to put a stop to these unfair practices, ensuring that tickets are accessible and affordable for everyone in Michigan,” says Rep. Graham Filler, who sponsored 5662.

“Our plan takes a needed step toward fairness and transparency, ensuring that people can access the events they love without being gouged. By making our state more event-friendly, we can also boost tourism and attract more people to our festivals and events, ultimately strengthening our economy.”

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Specifically, HB 5661, introduced by Rep. Mike McFall, bans people from using automated systems to purchase tickets in excess of limits set by the event organizers, bypassing or disabling security measures, or skipping an electronic queue. HB 5662 empowers the state’s Attorney General to investigate claims and outlines a civil fine of a maximum of $5,000 per ticket involved in any alleged violation of the law.

 

Companies like Live Nation Entertainment have largely attempted to blame consumer ticketing woes on the use of such programs, which they say is widespread. There is limited hard evidence to back those claims – such programs have been illegal at the federal level for nearly a decade and the FTC has only engaged in one enforcement action over alleged violations.

StubHub government relations manager Sean Auyash told Michigan lawmakers his company doesn’t just “unequivocally support the prohibiting the use of bots to unfairly procure tickets” but also hopes to see requirements for enforcement and reporting

“We believe a competitive marketplace provides consumers with greater access to the events they want to experience,” Auyash added, “and the ability to purchase tickets at a fair and market driven price.”

Sean Burns of TicketNetwork told NPR that his company also supports common-sense legislation that deals with consumer concerns over matters like “bot” use, but hopes to see more comprehensive reform efforts at the state and federal level to deal with other major consumer issues in ticketing.

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“We would love to see some more attention paid to things like better transparency for consumers about when and where tickets are put on sale in the first place. Looking at some deeper systemic issues like ticket holdbacks that are used to kind of distort the perceived supply,” Burns said.