President Obama has signed into law the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016, which makes it a federal offense to use computer software to buy tickets online. The bill, which was passed by the Senate last month and the House last week, deems ticketing bots “an unfair and deceptive practice” in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
Ticketing bots are pieces of software that can snatch up thousands of tickets within seconds of them going on sale, resulting in those same tickets being sold for a heavy markup on third-party sites like StubHub. Those who use such bots, as well as those aware of their use, will now be liable for punishment under the law. According to the bill’s Republican sponsor, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, the legislation will “level the playing field” for those frequenting ticketing sites.
As part of the signed legislation, the federal government can also intervene and file civil suits on behalf of people who were shut out of purchasing tickets due to scalpers using ticketing bots. It remains to be seen how effective the new legislation will be, but this seems like a win for the average music fan.
Below, revisit our documentary Sold Out!: Inside America’s Ticketing Landscape: