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But I want to see Jermain Jackman on Tour...


Any idea who he is? Me neither until I Googled winners of the Voice UK to provide an example for this blog, but nevertheless you may wish to see him on his grand World tour, should one ever materialise. Or, more likely, you may wish to go and see Radiohead, the mighty (now debatable one may argue) Arsenal FC, or go to a festival, say.

Long gone are the days of queueing, or sometimes camping, outside your local music store with a Thermos Flask of Bovril in one hand and a bottle of something stronger in the other (both to ward off cold Winter air) the night before the release of tickets to see your favourite band.

The modern approach is to be sat in your favourite chair, at home, in your lounge wear, with numerous devices (phone, laptop, Ipad (other less contentious brands are available) all ready to be thrust into action and constantly refreshed until that wondrous moment (or not in many cases) when you actually get through to the order screen to purchase your limited amount of tickets.

That is the best case scenario. Typically a potential buyer will never get through or may find that the whole system crashes just as s/he is about to pay.

Unscrupulous, but it has to be said sophisticated, ticketing touts use bots (i.e. essentially electronic applications that are able to perform automated activities) to get around those tricky security systems that a seller site puts in place (typically to restrict the number of tickets a potential buyer is able to purchase). Consequently, tickets purchased in this manner are then made available to the real music fan (say) on secondary ticketing sites. Unfortunately the sale price on such sites is not the original face value of the ticket, but one which can be many times this; for example ticket prices to see the musical Hamilton reached the dizzy, unconstitutional, heights of £6,000 each.

There may be some sun on the horizon from the Spring of 2018, when the Government looks to implement some of its powers under the Digital Economy Act 2017. The Ticket Sales Regulations (currently in draft form) will attempt to restrict the use of automated processes (described as an electronic communications network or an electronic communications service) in the purchase of multiple, restricted, tickets. When implemented, they will make it a criminal offence to use bots to purchase tickets where the quantity of those tickets available to an individual purchaser is limited. They may not restrict the use of bots entirely as the draft Regulations do not prevent their use where the amount of tickets sold to any one person is unlimited, but it does provide some comfort to artists and their fans that measures are being taken to protect their interests.

For further information relating to the points raised in this article, please contact Darren Carter, Senior Solicitor in our Commercial and Intellectual PropertyTeams.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.


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