ILMC calls for European legislation to govern ticket re-sales

April 2005

Live Event Industry

European promoters and venues aired their worries about the secondary market in concert tickets at the seventeenth annual International Live Music Conference. Conference speakers highlighted events such as 3A’s Kylie Minogue and Cream concerts and Glastonbury where prices quoted by ticket touts and on auction website Ebay have risen to many multiples of original face values. Most European speakers at the ILMC said that there was nothing to prevent concert ticket re-selling in their territories. In the UK it is only a criminal offence to resell football tickets and the rise of Ebay had led to a rise in re-selling – not just by touts but by members of the public. Most delegates felt that legislative action was the only way forward.

The position is different In the USA on a state by state basis where ticket reselling or ‘scalping’ can be prohibited. Ticket broker Chris Lipton has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the state who alleged that that he scalped tickets to a benefit concert featuring Bruce Springsteen. Under a deal announced Monday by the state Division of Consumer Affairs, $7,500 of the settlement money would go to the Rock and Roll Music Fund, the charity getting proceeds from the 2003 concert in Red Bank that also featured Jon Bon Jovi. Lipton, who operates A Good Time Tickets Inc., was accused of reselling tickets to the Hope Concert. The Concert raised money for Robert Bandiera Jr., son of guitarist Bobby Bandiera of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, who has a neurological disorder. Lipton admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, and denies he did anything wrong. The deal was approved late in February by a state judge.
COMMENT : US attorney David Moser adds “In the U.S., ticket reselling or scalping is governed by state and local law and there is therefore quite a bit of variation. Generally, it is not illegal to resell tickets, but some states impose regulations. Some states require resellers to obtain a license and some prohibit reselling tickets for greater than the face value of the ticket price. In New Jersey, if you aren’t licensed to resell tickets, you cannot resell tickets for more than 20% of the price or $3 more than the ticket’s face value, whichever is greater. However, in addition to state laws, cities sometimes regulate reselling tickets by requiring vendor permits and many venues prohibit reselling at the venue. Reselling tickets online seems to be a current trend. This brings up some interesting jurisdictional issues of which state law applies to an online sale. I think the answer would be the law of the state where the event is taking place regardless of the location of the seller.”

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