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Ticketmaster v. StubHub in a House committee meeting

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The fight for the secondary ticket market – between household names such as Ticketmaster and StubHub – has moved to Alabama’s Legislature.

At a House public hearing on Wednesday, attorneys and lobbyists representing both of those companies were on hand to make their pitches for and against a bill sponsored by Rep. Paul Lee. That bill would seemingly make one minor change in the way tickets to concerts, sporting events and other entertainment acts are sold – it would require the tickets be transferrable.

For the consumer, that means a ticket purchased for an event could be resold by that person using any means, including a secondary ticket sales website, such as StubHub.

“Why shouldn’t you be able to sell it?” Lee asked. “It’s your ticket, why should you be forced to give it back to the venue or company that sold it to you?”

The answer from the venues, represented by Claire Austin, is that such a system would open up the ticket sales process to massive fraud perpetrated by “bots” – sophisticated computer programs that are designed to quickly buy up blocks of tickets to popular events with the goal of reselling those tickets at much higher prices on the secondary market.

Austin also argued that such a process increases the chances for fraud, exposing ticket buyers to more instances of counterfeit tickets because the original venue or sellers can’t control the secondary markets.

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However, proponents of Lee’s bill pointed out that there is already federal legislation making most “bots” purchases illegal and that StubHub, like most reputable secondary sites, has protections against fraud and guarantees if fraud occurs.

The bill passed out of committee and goes to the full House for a vote.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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