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house Bill H.R. 5104

Do the Feds Need to Stop Automated Online Ticket Scalping?

Argument in favor

Automated ticket scalping programs make it harder and more expensive for average fans to attend the events they want. It’s an unfair business practice, and this bill would let the FTC put a stop to it.

Jennifer's Opinion
···
09/12/2016
I would be all in favor of self regulation. But as we have seen over and over we don't self regulate when given the opportunity. Arthur Anderson, housing bubble, epi pen. Let's get real.
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···
09/12/2016
Programs designed to scalp tickets can buy a ticket before the diehard fan who waited in line for 24 hours gets a chance. This creates unfair competition and raises prices for the average person. I'm all for preventing this.
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Felisha's Opinion
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09/12/2016
The money doesn't go to the artist or whomever. They are making money off the success of others...no hard work has been put into it.
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Argument opposed

People who want to go to events can still buy tickets after automated scalping programs have bought them for resale, they just have to pay a little bit more. The people running those programs deserve their profit.

Ryan's Opinion
···
09/12/2016
Too much regulation here. Let the online ticket sellers figure this out. They created their own issues they can solve them. No need to waste govt money here. Govt should be creating more competition instead of helping ticketmaster monopoly.
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TuckerWantsLiberty's Opinion
···
09/12/2016
Economics lesson: everyone (both buyers AND sellers) tries to profit from every single transaction. The seller's profit is the difference between the sale price for a good or service, and the cost to acquire, produce, or otherwise make available that good or service. The buyer's profit is the difference between the level at which the buyer values the good or service, and the actual purchase price. So in the case of concert tickets, say the seller puts the event together at a cost of $40/ticket. They sell at a price of $70/ticket. People value the concert at $100/ticket. Both buyer and seller are set up to profit. But now a ticket scalper comes in and buys up $70 tickets to resell. Yeah, it stinks that they're going to sell for more, but they can only sell for so much more - if he raises the price to $110/ticket then people won't buy (i.e., he won't sell) and even he won't profit. You can't profit if no one is buying. So he raises the price only to $90. Now he can still profit over the $70 he bought them at, and buyers still profit, though less than they would've at face value. It can be a little stinky to profit less than you would, but why should that be illegal? Why is it more important to protect one person's profit than another? What makes the buyer's profit more important than the seller's or scalper's profit? By definition, if a consumer is voluntarily purchasing something, it's because they are still profiting. Why should it be illegal for a middle man to jump into that market and try to capture some of the margin? It's the exact opposite of the federal government's stance in the alcohol industry, where producers are legally not allowed by the government to also be distributors, and so the government is actually FORCING an extra middle man into the market who will of course capture some of the profits in the chain of value and leave less profit for the consumer. Or in automobiles, where manufacturers can't sell directly to consumers and so dealerships buy from manufacturers and sell to consumers, capturing some of the profit for themselves. What's next? Illegal grocery stores because it's more expensive than straight from the farmer? Illegal department stores because it's cheaper straight from the designer? Illegal furniture stores because it's cheaper straight from the manufacturer? You know what would help bring down ticket prices? Remove the government's taxes. Both sellers and buyers would benefit from that.
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Aerick's Opinion
···
09/12/2016
We need to regulate ourselves. If you think the Federal Government was instituted to control and arbitrate everything, you don't understand it. The Constitution only works when we, the people, are able to control ourselves. It allows for the maximum of freedom. Are we worthy of it? If not, then we need to change instead of asking the government to enforce more controls like this one.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house Passed September 12th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Consumer Protection and Commerce
    IntroducedApril 28th, 2016

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What is House Bill H.R. 5104?

This bill — known as the Better Online Ticket Sales or BOTS Act — would make it illegal to use or sell software to buy tickets online to events by circumventing security measures in order to then sell (or scalp) those tickets. It would prevent scalpers from using automated programs to buy tickets to concerts, games, and other events faster than humans can so that they can be re-sold elsewhere at a profit.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be tasked with enforcing these prohibitions, which would be considered “unfair or deceptive practices” by the Commission. People who are wronged by violations of these bans would have the ability to file a civil suit for damages plus $1,000 for each distinct use or sale of software, or sale of a ticket, that caused injury in addition to reasonable attorney’s fees.

Impact

People buying tickets online to events they wish to attend; people running automated ticket scalping systems; and the FTC.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 5104

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost less than $500,000 per year.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced this bill to protect consumers’ access to online ticket purchases by banning automated scalping systems:

“Scalpers have been taking advantage of computer hacking software (BOTS) to circumvent restrictions put in place by online ticketing agents for years. They purchase tickets in mass quantities and sell them at a drastically inflated rate, which unfairly prices most fans of live entertainment out of the market… The BOTS Act will allow FTC enforcement and a private right of action to be brought against proven online scalpers. It is time to end these anti-consumer tactics and level the online ticket playing field for fans of live entertainment.”

This legislation was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on a voice vote, and it currently has the bipartisan support of 18 cosponsors in the House — evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user sillygwailo)

AKA

Better On-line Ticket Sales Act of 2016

Official Title

To prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice in commerce, the sale or use of certain software to circumvent control measures used by Internet ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for any given event, and for other purposes.

    I would be all in favor of self regulation. But as we have seen over and over we don't self regulate when given the opportunity. Arthur Anderson, housing bubble, epi pen. Let's get real.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    Too much regulation here. Let the online ticket sellers figure this out. They created their own issues they can solve them. No need to waste govt money here. Govt should be creating more competition instead of helping ticketmaster monopoly.
    Like (29)
    Follow
    Share
    Economics lesson: everyone (both buyers AND sellers) tries to profit from every single transaction. The seller's profit is the difference between the sale price for a good or service, and the cost to acquire, produce, or otherwise make available that good or service. The buyer's profit is the difference between the level at which the buyer values the good or service, and the actual purchase price. So in the case of concert tickets, say the seller puts the event together at a cost of $40/ticket. They sell at a price of $70/ticket. People value the concert at $100/ticket. Both buyer and seller are set up to profit. But now a ticket scalper comes in and buys up $70 tickets to resell. Yeah, it stinks that they're going to sell for more, but they can only sell for so much more - if he raises the price to $110/ticket then people won't buy (i.e., he won't sell) and even he won't profit. You can't profit if no one is buying. So he raises the price only to $90. Now he can still profit over the $70 he bought them at, and buyers still profit, though less than they would've at face value. It can be a little stinky to profit less than you would, but why should that be illegal? Why is it more important to protect one person's profit than another? What makes the buyer's profit more important than the seller's or scalper's profit? By definition, if a consumer is voluntarily purchasing something, it's because they are still profiting. Why should it be illegal for a middle man to jump into that market and try to capture some of the margin? It's the exact opposite of the federal government's stance in the alcohol industry, where producers are legally not allowed by the government to also be distributors, and so the government is actually FORCING an extra middle man into the market who will of course capture some of the profits in the chain of value and leave less profit for the consumer. Or in automobiles, where manufacturers can't sell directly to consumers and so dealerships buy from manufacturers and sell to consumers, capturing some of the profit for themselves. What's next? Illegal grocery stores because it's more expensive than straight from the farmer? Illegal department stores because it's cheaper straight from the designer? Illegal furniture stores because it's cheaper straight from the manufacturer? You know what would help bring down ticket prices? Remove the government's taxes. Both sellers and buyers would benefit from that.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    We need to regulate ourselves. If you think the Federal Government was instituted to control and arbitrate everything, you don't understand it. The Constitution only works when we, the people, are able to control ourselves. It allows for the maximum of freedom. Are we worthy of it? If not, then we need to change instead of asking the government to enforce more controls like this one.
    Like (9)
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    Share
    Keep the Federal government out of this. They are already involved in way too many things that adversely affect our freedom to choose.
    Like (4)
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    Law of unintended consequences would cause havoc here. Let the free market solutions solve.
    Like (4)
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    This is America-- Free choice
    Like (4)
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    Programs designed to scalp tickets can buy a ticket before the diehard fan who waited in line for 24 hours gets a chance. This creates unfair competition and raises prices for the average person. I'm all for preventing this.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    The money doesn't go to the artist or whomever. They are making money off the success of others...no hard work has been put into it.
    Like (4)
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    I don't see how adding another bill will stop scalpers. They are going to find a way to sell tickets.
    Like (3)
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    Let the industry figure it out and regulate themselves. No need for government regulation and tax dollars to be spent on how we purchase our entertainment.
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    Seems like the online seller of these "pre-scalped" tickets aren't complaining. They sold the tickets legally. If the seller is worried, rewrite the software to prevent the repeated selling. Everyone in this chain of events seem happy except the one being scalped. If a fool wants to purchase a ticket and the resulting scalping, then he needs a good look in a mirror before complaining. Caveat emptor as a Roman would say.
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    Why is the FedGov even involved in this? Leave this to the states if it's necessary. If you don't like scampers, quit buying from them.
    Like (3)
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    Government isn't the answer to every problem. Let the events originally selling their tickets handle this. No more regulation.
    Like (3)
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    Use the $500k to pay down the debt. Why is it we don't see any bills addressing this issue?
    Like (2)
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    We want a free market! You can still buy tickets it just costs more since you now have a middle man... You don't see a bill banning grocery stores just because the food is more expensive than what they paid the farmers
    Like (2)
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    In a system like our own, with such a competitive market, our government can and should take precautions to protect the consumer. Everything is designed to squeeze a couple bucks out of you. A few healthy regulations only serve to keep a scummy business practice in check.
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    I don't believe that this bill would have much of an effect. The scalpers would just find another way. The only sure way to stop this practice is for those who purchase the re-sale tickets to stop buying. I believe that we can find a better cause/purpose to spend $500,000 per year.
    Like (2)
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    Regulations, Obamas best friend.
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    We need less regulation not more
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