Italian Court Fines Secondary-Ticketing Websites for ‘Bagarinaggio 2.0’

January 2017

Live events sector


Italian collection society SIAE has won a court order to prevent the resale of tickets to Coldplay’s shows in Milan next July. This update by Jonathan Coote.
Judge Fausto Basile at the Civil Tribunal of Rome has ordered that secondary-ticketing sites Viagogo, Seatwave and TicketBis pay €2,000 a ticket if they continue to break copyright laws re-selling Coldplay tickets. However, it has not retrospectively punished the site or its users. The case was brought by the musical copyright collecting agency SIAE (Società Italiana degli Autoried Editori, Italian Society of Authors and Publishers) and consumer agencyFederconsumatori against the sites in response to the influx of tickets appearing after the release of Coldplay tickets for a series of 2017 concerts.


The news follows a soon to be enacted addition to the recently-passed Italian Budget 2017 with the imposition of larger €5,000-180,000 fines for ‘bagarinaggio’ (ticket-touting, including online). The judge instead used Law No. 633 of 1941, for the Protection of Copyright and and Neighbouring Rights, in particular, citing articles 156, 162 and 163 which deal with court regulations in breaching performance rights. Art. 156 allows the collection of damages from any infringers of copyright but also those who are “found to be providing services on a commercial scale used in infringing activities”, which applies to TicketBis et al. with their peer-to-peer ticket distribution service. In this case the breach was not the individual ticket sellers but instead the distribution “carried out in a professional manner” by the sites. The amount can be decided by the judge according to art. 163(2), which states that the judge can “set an amount payable for each violation”.


Articles 669 and 700 of the Italian Civil Procedural Code were used by lawyers representing SIAE to swiftly obtain damages even before the new legislation will be passed and applicable in the new year. The articles deal with providing interim measures urgently to the claimant based on their preliminary evidence submitted to the court, intended to prevent a breach of the claimant’s rights in the near future and could be overturned after appeal before 60 days. However the judge did not allow for the payment of damages retrospectively to SIAE and Federconsumatori. TicketBis’s lawyer saw this rejection, perhaps optimistically, as affirming the fundamentals of the site’s business in general but furthered the calls for statutory protection from ‘Bots’ buying-up tickets.
The budget law amendment outlawing secondary ticketing is expected to be passed by the end of January 2017.
Secondary Ticketing: big win in Rome Court against piggybacking on line


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