Blackburn’s ticket scalping bill clears House

The U.S. House has approved a bill that seeks to stop scalpers from using computer-hacking software to instantly gobble up online tickets for concerts and other live entertainment events, reports Michael Collins.

The Better Online Ticket Sales Act, which passed by voice vote late Monday, would make the use of so-called ticket bots an “unfair and deceptive act” subject to enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission.

The legislation, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., now heads to the Senate.

Scalpers often use bots to evade computer security and buy mass quantities of tickets for concerts and other live events immediately after the tickets go on sale online. They then resell the tickets at much higher prices.

“For years, ticket scalpers have been taking advantage of computer-hacking software to overwhelm online ticketing websites with requests,” Blackburn said. “These anti-consumer tactics have no place in our society, and it’s time we take action to protect fans of live entertainment.”

The bill would make use of ticket-buying bots a civil offense and allow the FTC to take action against online scalpers that use them. Individual ticket buyers also could sue for damages if they are shut out because scalpers used a ticket-buying bot.