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UK government pledges action on ticket bots

Speaking to the Commons' public bill committee, digital minister Matt Hancock said his view is that the Computer Misuse Act prohibits buying concert tickets with software

By Jon Chapple on 02 Nov 2016

Matt Hancock, minister for culture, communications and the creative industries, Crown copyright

image © Crown copyright

British digital culture minister Matt Hancock has affirmed his “clear commitment” to tackling unauthorised online ticket touting.

At a meeting yesterday of the House of Commons public bill committee, Hancock (pictured) – the minister of state for culture, communications and the creative industries (not to be confused with Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, a senior role) – pledged his support for Nigel Adams MP’s campaign to outlaw the use of ticket bots in the UK.

Saying measures to tackle the use of bots were important but “not a panacaea”, Hancock quoted Bradley as saying “the advice has always been that the Computer Misuse Act applied” and called for a meeting of “all interested parties” to discuss the issue before Christmas.

He added the government’s response to the Waterson report will be published “in due course”, but questioned “whether it is best to hold back publication until after the work I have just committed to is done to incorporate fully the views of the fans, artists, the ticket-selling industry and, potentially, even my honourable friend [Adams].”

“Action against bots is not a silver bullet. To make the ticketing market function better for audiences, we also need proper enforcement of existing consumer law and regulation of the ‘big four’ resale platforms”

Adams described it as a “sensible move”, saying: “Perhaps it is not a bad idea to have this roundtable and take soundings from the industry before the government respond to the review.”

Adam Webb, campaign manager for anti-touting group FanFair Alliance, formed in July, said today: “We fully support Nigel Adams MP in pursuing this issue. The abuse of software by touts to hack into ticketing sales and scalp inventory is a major bugbear for genuine fans and is an issue where we need clarity in the law.

“However, as was also made clear by MPs at the committee and also by the minister, action against bots is not a silver bullet. To make the ticketing market function better for audiences, we also need proper enforcement of existing consumer law and regulation of the ‘big four’ resale platforms.”

 


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