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Parliament Parks Bots

The ongoing inquiries of Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s into ticketing abuse and in particular the secondary market, have been canned in light of the imminent dissolution of Parliament and the minor inconvenience of an upcoming general election.

Chair of the committee Damian Collins said in a statement: “Although we are unable to complete these important inquiries, there is no bar to our successors in the next Parliament taking up the evidence received – which has been published on the committee’s website – and finishing them. Given the importance of all these subjects, we hope that the new committee will do so”.

Parliament will of course soon enter ‘Purdah’- the pre-election period that prevents central and local government from making new policy announcements. It’s seemingly almost time for civil servants to get the deckchairs out until June 8th!

The select committee’s inquiry into ticket touting had supported more effective regulation of the secondary ticketing market, also pushing for a ban on ‘bots’ that enable touts to use software to bulk buy tickets. Amendments to the Digital Economy Bill, including the bots issue, will be considered today in Parliament.

Campaign Manager of the FanFair Alliance Adam Webb commented: “Through its two evidence sessions on ticket abuse, the Culture Media & Sport Committee has helped shed light on what it’s Chair, Damian Collins MP, has described as a ‘national scandal’. Because of the General Election all current inquiries have unfortunately now ended, but we are optimistic that post 8 Jun a new incoming committee will view ticket touting as ‘unfinished business’, and consider picking up the reins. The ongoing concerns about Viagogo, in particular, are still unanswered”.

Webb continued: “Elsewhere the fight goes on – and while one door temporarily closes, others remain open. An enforcement investigation by the Competition & Markets Authority is still ongoing, while this Wednesday the Digital Economy Bill returns to the House Of Commons. This bill includes two important amendments that, if they become law, should make life harder for touts and inject some real transparency into the ticket resale market”.

In related news, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino (pictured) this week weighed in, commenting that he thought that efforts to legislate against the secondary market were “unrealistic” and that the crux of the issue was pricing and better technology- of course he would say that, being the owner of the largest ticketing company in the world with Ticketmaster and two of the most prominent secondary sites with Seatwave and Get Me In.

As reported by the Globe and Mail Rapino commented at the Canadian Music Week conference that: “As long as the market’s gigantic, you’ll have sophisticated players trying to figure out how to monetise it”, somewhat unsurprisingly adding that his “instincts are always on the free market”.

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