The UK's Digital Economy Act 2017 is to be amended by the Breaching Limits on Ticket Sales Regulations, which will criminalise use of internet bots to bypass limits on ticket purchases set by event organisers.In practice, the problem is not necessarily how the tickets are purchased - by bots or otherwise - but rather, the crazy prices fans are forced to pay on the secondary market. When tickets first go on sale for an event, they hit the primary market. If somebody resells their ticket, they do so on the secondary market. This secondary market is estimated to be worth more than £1bn ($1.4b) per year in the UK alone. When resales are done on a large scale or for considerable profit, it's known as "touting" or "scalping". Touting in the digital age. "Bots" are software applications that run automated tasks (scripts) over the internet, used for years to quickly buy up thousands of tickets at lightening speed. By way of example, American company Prestige Entertainment is alleged to have bought over 300,000 tickets in a two-year period. This included 30,000 Hamilton Tickets and, in another instance, bought over 1,000 tickets to a U2 concert in less than one minute (see Ticketmaster v Prestige Entertainment, case 2:2017cv07232). High and dry. When ticket supply is drastically limited, the bot masters ("power sellers") can resell the bot-obtained tickets to fans at high mark-ups. Tickets for Radiohead's 2016 show had a face value of £65, but were placed on Viagogo for £3,934. A ticket for Adele's concert in London was listed on Get Me In! for an eye-watering £24,840.
Before I started law school, I spoke to a lawyer at Universal Music about licensing, copyright, and other fascets of law pertaining to the music industry. Since becoming a lawyer myself, I'm even more fascinated by the ways in which commercial contracts, digital strategy, artists' rights and expression interact with and shape each other: Facebook's new global, multi-year agreements with Universal and Sony Music are perfect examples of such dynamism. Facebook first inked a deal with Universal Music in late December 2017. The deal with Sony, the largest music publisher in the world, was announced on 9 January. These deals allow Facebook and Instagram users to upload homemade video clips containing songs owned by Universal or Sony, without generating a takedown notice.
From 1 October, the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Act 2017 offers new protection for professional advisers (including lawyers) involved in certain intellectual property disputes. If the owner of a trade mark, patent or design thinks someone else is using their intellectual property without permission, they may be tempted