SENATE PASSES BILL TO HELP STOP “BOTS” FROM RUINING CONSUMERS’ CHANCES OF BUYING CONCERT AND OTHER EVENT TICKETS
The New York State Senate passed legislation this week to prevent
automated ticketing software – also known as “bots” – from buying up
concert and other event tickets before consumers have a chance to purchase
them. The bill (S6931C), sponsored by Senator Andrew Lanza (R-C-I, Staten
Island), strengthens existing laws to prevent bots from using unfair
technological advantages that keep retail priced tickets out of the hands
of fans so that higher ticket prices can be charged on the resale market.
Senator Lanza, Chairman of the Senate Investigations and Government
Operations Committee, said, “This bill will help stop ticket price gouging
and protect consumers from unscrupulous speculators who use unfair
technology such as bots to quickly seize the best seats and resell them at
inflated prices. It represents the strongest ‘anti-bot’ legislation in the
nation, as it will prevent the use of mass ticket purchasing programs which
deny people a fair chance at buying event tickets. I thank Attorney General
Eric Schneiderman for working closely with us to fashion this measure.”
Current laws already make it illegal to utilize bots - any machine,
device, computer program, or computer software that navigates or runs
automated tasks on retail ticket purchasing websites - in order to bypass
security measures to purchase tickets. However, while there is a civil
penalty ranging from $500 to $1,000, there are no criminal penalties to
help further deter the use or sale of bots.
To make a more equitable ticket buying process, this bill creates
criminal penalties that include imprisonment or fines for the sale or use
of bots - a Class A misdemeanor charge for first time offenders, followed
by a Class E felony for repeat offenders. Fines would range from $750 to
$1,500 for each violation, plus the required forfeiture of profits from the
sale of the unlawfully obtained tickets. The bill also expands the
definition of bots to prohibit their use to circumvent control measures
used by Internet ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to
tickets for an event.
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.