As his final term nears it’s close Obama has signed one of his last bills that hopes to end ticket scalping by bots and make online ticketing fair again.
The “Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016” isn’t just a great acronym but a bill that makes it illegal to purchase tickets for concerts and events via software. Under the new law using bots to tout tickets will be seen as “unfair and deceptive practice” under the Federal Trade Commission Act, and will allow the FTC to make cases against users of ticket touting software.
This is the first federal level act against ticket touting the US has seen, with most action having been taken at a state level before. The act was approved by Congress earlier this month and Obama signed his approval last week with his press rep saying the bill will “prohibit the circumvention of control measures used by internet ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for certain events.”
Whilst the BOTS Act won’t be enough to get rid of ticket touting, which has become rife online with people buying up tickets immediately then selling them on at higher prices, it will at least help to prevent the worst of it which is automated. As live music has become one of the biggest sources of revenue for artists it is majorly detrimental to both fans and artists when tickets are scalped and touted as it prevents fans from wanting to go or stops them being able to entirely.
It’s a move in the right direction but some feel it doesn’t go far enough for the larger issue. Concert Promoter Seth Hurwitz told the New York Times: “There is only one way to stop the scalping industry, and that’s to make it illegal. Anything else is just Whac-a-Mole, and grandstanding by politicians.”