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After many complaints of unfair online ticket-buying procedures, California governor Jerry Brown signed a law that bans a ticket-buying software that can purchase hundreds of concert tickets in a matter of seconds.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, this software, also referred to as “bots,” allow scalpers to log in and buy hundreds of different seats for concerts while appearing to be ordering from several different computers. The scalpers are then able to turn around and sell the tickets at a much higher price.
In July, three Beyoncé concerts sold out in just 60 seconds, just one instance indicating foul play.
The law benefits both customers and anti-scalping organizations working to eliminate these situations. Michael Marion, president of Fans First, one of these organizations, said, “when you have a huge population state like California say, ‘We don’t want our customers cheated out of good seats,’ that sends the biggest message possible to the rest of the country that this will be stopped.” Marion also pointed out that other states, including Texas, New Jersey, Minnesota and Tennessee, have been trying to pass similar laws for years. “This will be a significant turning point in this drive.”
Ticketmaster is one of several supporters of the bill – spokeswoman Jacqueline Peterson said, “As the leader in the fight against 'bots,' we applaud Governor Brown for signing into law an anti-bot bill. This is an important step in combating nefarious scalping practices that are responsible for too many tickets ending up in the hands of scalpers.”
But some critics remain skeptical. Dean Budnick, author of Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry, maintains that there are many other problems with online ticket-buying that need to be addressed as well. “There are so many reasons why the average ticket buyer can’t get the seats they want that it’s part of a much larger picture. It’s very easy to vilify professional scalpers and say they are using some untoward means to bypass security, but the fact of the matter is that the ticket inventories available to the general public are actually quite small.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that the legislation will be enforced starting January 1. Violators will receive up to six months of jail time and fines of up to $2,500.
Brown also passed a law Monday to ensure biker safety in California, forcing drivers to either provide three feet of space between their car and bicyclists or slow down for them.