French Constitutional Council confirms ticket touting ban is legal

May 2020

COMPETITION: France’s constitutional court (Constitutional Council) has ruled that the country’s 2012 anti-ticket touting laws are compliant with the French constitution, knocking back secondary platform Viagogo’s efforts to have the law ruled unconstitutional on the basis they are  “disproportionate breach of freedom of enterprise” – a move backed by rival platform, Ticketbis, owned by eBay’s StubHub. The secondary ticketing firm argued that the ban “infringes the freedom of trade, challenges the right of ownership which grants everyone the freedom to use their property as they see fit, and consequently grants a de facto monopoly to event organisers”. The resale of tickets for profit,without the permission of a show’s promoter, was prohibited in 2012, 

The director of French live industry trade group PRODISS, Malika Séguineau, welcomed the Council’s decision, saying that it “strongly reinforces the French law”, and in doing so “protects the consumers, the fans, the artists and the promoters”.

The trade group also confirmed that it and several French promoters have filed a criminal action against Viagogo, which will now proceed after the  Constitutional Council’s ruling saying “We welcome today’s decision, especially as PRODISS, alongside several promoters, have parallelly filed a criminal action against Viagogo. The judge is soon to be appointed. Our legal actions go alongside our campaign

Viagogo has said that it is now considering all options the ruling and “notes” last week’s ruling and is now “considering all the options available … including bringing an action before the European Court Of Justice”. The latter would involve arguing that France’s tout ban contravened EU law. Viagogo’s statement goes on to say that “France is one of the few countries in the world to have chosen a ban on reselling tickets without the agreement of the organiser of a show or sporting event”. Although it opposes such laws, the company then says that it does support measures that will “make resale operations more transparent”.

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