Legislators Tinker With Ticketing Bill

The Commercial Appeal takes a long look at lobbying war underway in the Legislature over HB1000, called the “Fairness in Ticketing Act” by concert operators unhappy with a secondary market for their tickets that has evolved beyond what they say they can control as the Internet marketplace has flourished.
No shortage of lobbyists and public relations specialists have been hired on both sides.
Should Tennessee enact the law this coalition wants, supporters claim the state will gain first-in-the-nation protections from deceptive ticket brokers, transparency in the secondary market and stated protections for venues and artists to conduct ticketing however they see fit.
Those who oppose the bills do so on grounds they claim are grassroots: Tickets are your property, they say, and there shouldn’t be a law that restricts what you can do with them.
For such a small piece of paper, it’s turned into quite a large fight.
…The Fairness in Ticketing Act, although supported by venues and artists across the state, has not exactly sailed through the General Assembly. Late last month, four of the bill’s original sponsors removed their names from it, according to a news release from the group that trumpeted their departure.
In a Senate committee Tuesday, the distinction over the property right of a ticket dominated discussion.
An amendment eliminated a paragraph that explicitly enabled paperless ticketing, adding in its place that venues may refuse entry or kick fans out because of illegal conduct. An amendment also removed a specific reference to a ticket as a “revocable license,” a concession to bill opponents who assert tickets are private property. But it was pointed out by one senator that tickets-as-licenses has been a long-held custom in case law, meaning just because the paragraph is removed doesn’t mean courts won’t recognize them as such.
In committee debate, Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, called the amendment “a potentially substantive change” to the original bill.
And on Monday, an amendment supporters say is sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Mufreesboro, surfaced that would sweep away much of what the bill’s original proponents sought. Ketron’s amendment would make it illegal for a venue to control whether a ticket is resold and would make paperless ticketing illegal.

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