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Lords Tightens up on Ticket Touts

Secondary ticketing sellers are set to come under greater scrutiny under new legislation passed by the House of Lords last week.

As part of the new amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill, resellers on sites such as Viagogo will be required to provide certain details including the face value of the ticket, seat number and restrictions to the ticket. They won’t have to provide information such as the name as the seller as originally proposed, but sites that don’t disclose knowledge of criminal activity could also face a maximum fine of £5,000.

This all follows a protracted game of political ping pong in which peers approved original amendments in November which MPs voted against last month, kicking it back to the Lords for what is essentially a ‘light touch’ compromised version of the original proposals.

Conservative MP and former IP adviser to the Prime Minister Mike Weatherley (pictured), who has long campaigned on the issue and co-chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ticket Abuse alongside Labour MP Sharon Hodgson welcomed the move, saying: “This has been a long standing campaign by the APPG to get some overdue changes in place. The free market system has broken down due to the introduction of ‘bots’ and other factors, enabling, on occasions, obscene profiteering for intermediaries against the interest of fans and the wishes of those putting on the event. I am pleased that the Government has recognised the importance of regulation with regard to secondary ticketing, which will be to the benefit of us all”.

Weatherley added: “While the new amendment does not cover every change that we had hoped for, it is an important step in the right direction. I believe that the report on this issue, that will now become mandatory and delivered to Parliament in the next 12 months, is important and look forward to seeing if further changes need to be made in the future”.

Weatherley also led the public facing ‘Putting Fans First’ campaign after over 80 representatives of music, sport and theatre wrote an open letter to the Government calling for action on unscrupulous practices in the secondary ticketing market. The likes of Iron Maiden Manager Rod Smallwood and Comedian Stuart Lee became incredibly vocal on the issue. As alluded to above, an independent report on the secondary ticketing market will be delivered to Parliament within 12 months.

A statement from Viagogo said: “It’s business as usual at Viagogo. Ticket resale was legal yesterday, is legal today, and will still be legal tomorrow. The only practical implications of the new legislation are that we might need to publish some additional information about the tickets on our site later this year, but we were already working with the Government on that. What’s important is that the basic principle of being able to buy and sell tickets on secure platforms like ours has not changed”.

As reported here on Music Business Worldwide, Live Nation owned Ticketmaster increased its resale revenues by 55% in the US to $900m of gross revenue.

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