A cross-party group of MPs and Peers this week joined industry figures and artists to call on the Government to accept the “Ban the Bots” amendment ahead of the report stage of the Digital Economy Bill.
Led by MPs Sharon Hodgson and Nigel Adams, a photo call was held outside of parliament (above – possibly the worst photo ever taken?) this afternoon attended by the likes of Imogen Heap, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Producer Sonia Friedman, and Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six!, alongside various industry figures – including your erstwhile Gen Editor Paul Reed(not that you can really see him), standing on tip toes in the freezing cold for the cause, comrades.
The photo call was staged in advance of the Report Stage of the Digital Economy Bill on the same day, where MPs and Peers backed an amendment drafted by All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Music Chairman Nigel Adams, which would ban the use of bots to buy tickets.
Hodgson said: “It was excellent to see our cross-party campaign to take another step forward after many years of campaigning on the many issues in the ticketing industry which are locking fans out of seeing their favourite artist, sports team or theatre show. The chorus of concerns from industry, fans and Parliamentarians a like is becoming hard for the government to ignore. It’s time the government acted”.
Adams added: “It’s time for the government to act on industrial scale ticket touting to protect genuine music fans. Criminalising the use of ‘bots’ by touts to buy up large numbers of tickets is a good place to start”.
The photo call also linked in with the #ToutsOut campaign by Fan Fair Alliance, which has galvanised the industry to tackle industrial scale ticket touting. It follows a parliamentary petition which saw more than 83,000 people call for further transparency measures in the market to help empower fans and protect them from the unscrupulous actions of touts.
Following the gathering, Culture Minister Matt Hancock stated that he has been “persuaded” of the need for action over bots.
Hancock was speaking at the Digital Economy Bill sessions in the House of Commons and said: “Although we would not want to close down the secondary market for tickets altogether, clearly the automatic harvesting of tickets sold below market price – so that fans cannot afford them – for resale at a higher value is wrong. We have heard very powerful explanations of the scale of the problem and its breadth”.
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