Live events sector
For six years, Tennessee has had a law making it illegal to use special computer software – bots – to buy large quantities of tickets to popular concerts and sporting events. But despite the apparent prevalence of the practice, no one has been prosecuted for this hard-to-prove crime in Davidson County according to records obtained by the Tennessean from the Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk. Whilst artists and promoters have to resort to ticket limits and paperless ticketing, which required the purchasing credit card and matching photo identification to get into some shows, large numbers of tickets showed up on ticket resale sites the. It seems enforcing the law is complicated for a variety of reasons, including highly sophisticated software that scalpers use to crack computer systems that companies such as Ticketmaster use to sell tickets. There are also jurisdiction issues because sometimes out-of-state scalpers will target shows in Tennessee despite a law which says that it is illegal to own, use or share bot software and that violation of the law is a class A misdemeanor punishable by $500 per ticket, or any profits made from each instance, whichever is higher. There have been no prosecutions in Nashville since the law took effect in 2008.
“This is not a localized problem,” Fielding Logan, who represents The Black Keys and Eric Church, with Q Prime Management, toldThe Tennessean: “It is a national problem. It crosses state lines. For a show in Nashville, it’s not just people in Nashville buying tickets. Primary seller Ticketmaster, which has advocated for bot laws that have passed in 13 states, has taken a two-pronged approach to combat the use of bots. The company invests in its own anti-bot software. When ticket restrictions, such as household limits, are violated, Ticketmaster can revoke the tickets. The company also has brought private lawsuits against organized scalpers and assisted with criminal charges against a scalping ring in New Jersey. The company hopes to pass more state laws that ban the use of bot software as a deterrent.
The States with ‘anti-bot’ laws are: California, Oregon, Minnesota, Indiana, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.