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Industry urges action on touting via EU’s DSA

FEAT, along with a host of European industry associations, is calling for action on illegal and unethical ticket resale through the new Digital Services Act

By IQ on 22 Oct 2020

Austrian MEP Hannes Heide supports FEAT's DSA proposals

Austrian MEP Hannes Heide supports the FEAT proposals

In response to the launch of the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA), the Face-Value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) has published new recommendations for the future of online ticket resale.

The pan-European anti-touting group, established early last year, has issued further proposals to protect fans from “harmful” secondary ticketing and reduce illegal ticket resale across the EU, following the FEAT-backed ban on ticket bots introduced in April 2019.

Its recommendations are backed by a host of industry associations, including the Spanish Association of Music Promoters (APM), Germany’s BDKV, the Association for Electronic Music, Pearle* and the European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA), and broadly supported by Waterson report author Prof Michael Waterson.

The joint action – which follows more than 50 court cases and initiatives to try and curb secondary across 11 EU member states FEAT surveyed – comes after European commissioners approved initial proposals for the DSA, which aims to offer better protection for online consumers, late on Tuesday (20 October).

“EU action is necessary through to put control of tickets back into the hands of those putting on the shows”

FEAT’s recommendations, which are outlined in a position paper published today (22 Oct), include:

  • Clear liability for online marketplaces, with rules stating when they are responsible for misleading information or guarantees, and illegal or delisted tickets
  • Verification processes to vet sellers and their tickets, to prevent tickets being listed unlawfully
  • More transparency measures for online marketplaces, with clear information about tickets (including face value) and the identity of sellers
  • Better reporting and take-down for tickets not permitted for resale
  • Oversight, enforcement and public performance rating from a European agency empowered to ensure the DSA’s provisions are implemented
  • Rules must apply to marketplaces trading within the EU, but based outside

Austrian MEP Hannes Heide, who sits on the European parliament’s culture committee, is supporting the FEAT proposals. He comments: “Ticket resale platforms like Viagogo list and advertise mostly overpriced tickets for sporting or cultural events, usually being sold by commercial traders rather than consumers. They enable the sale of speculative tickets, which the seller does not even own, and sales that contravene the lawful terms and conditions of the ticket. This harms consumers, artists, event organisers and honest ticket sellers.

“In several countries, such as Austria, Viagogo has been legally obliged to disclose the identity of the ticket sellers, which enables defrauded consumers to take action against the seller. In addition, the platform must inform buyers of the ticket’s original face-value price and whether the tickets are personalised.

“While this is a partial victory, it is not enough. The platforms must comply with all requirements of EU law and the authorities of the member states must work together to ensure compliance.”

“European consumers are long overdue secondary ticketing marketplaces they can rely on”

Per Kviman, chair of EMMA, adds: “The growth in ticket resale across Europe through sites like Viagogo and StubHub has undermined the ability of artists to sell their tickets to fans at a fair price they determine. Instead, brokers/touts buy up large volumes of tickets to the most popular shows, falsely inflating prices and limiting access for consumers.

“EU action is necessary through the Digital Services Act to put control of tickets back into the hands of those putting on the shows and creating powers to take down illegally listed tickets. As European managers we back FEAT’s campaign.”

“So much has changed since the e-Commerce Directive came into effect in 2000, and European consumers are long overdue secondary ticketing marketplaces they can rely on,” comments FEAT campaign lead Katie O’Leary.

“That can only happen through better regulation, enforcement and a public performance rating which will put the onus on marketplaces to make sure the tickets that they’re promoting – and profiting from – are accurately depicted, real and guaranteed to gain fans entry into the event. We welcome the result of this week’s plenary vote, which is a step in the right direction.”


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