Obama Signs Anti-Bot Measure Into Law


WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — In the final days of his administration, President Barack Obama signed an anti-scalping bill intended to curb ticket bots. Bots are automated systems that purchase tickets in bulk, often bypassing security measures to prevent such activity and inflating ticket prices for millions of fans.

The BOTS Act of 2016 defines the use of automated ticket purchasing software as an "unfair and deceptive practice" under the Federal Trade Commission Act and allows the FTC to pursue those cases. The bill also prohibits the sale of, or offers to sell an event ticket in interstate commerce obtained through the circumvention of systems designed to limit purchases.

The measure was passed by the Senate two weeks ago and the House of Representatives followed suit last week, passing the measure in a display of bi-partisan support on Wednesday.

If the measure will have any impact, or if the FTC's enforcement measures will have any teeth remains to be seen, particularly as the transition of power takes place in Washington in the coming weeks, particularly as the law only applies to ticket sales in the U.S.

The financial incentives of the secondary ticket market will remain a powerful motivator, not only for third party brokers but for other entities in the live entertainment ecosystem as well. Last month, Live Nation Italy revealed that the company had sold a limited quantity of tickets for international touring artists directly on the secondary ticket market.

“There is only one way to stop the scalping industry, and that’s to make it illegal,” concert promoter Seth Hurwitz told the New York Times in a recent interview. “Anything else is just Whac-a-Mole, and grandstanding by politicians.” – Staff Writers