N.Y. senator pushes for ticket legislation

Aims to impose waiting period before allowing resell

NASHVILLE -- As another round of U2 tickets went on sale, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) unveiled new legislation Monday to improve fans' chances of getting tickets at face price and to crack down on ticket resellers.

The legislation imposes a two-day waiting period from when tickets go on sale via an authorized sales channel before a ticket reseller can buy those tickets to put on the secondary market.

Schumer's legislation is geared to help ensure fans get first crack at good seats at face value before ticket resellers buy up tickets to sell on the secondary market. It also requires ticket resellers to obtain a federal registration number from the FTC and post that number in conjunction with all ticket resales.

Schumer's legislation will be introduced when the Senate goes back in session in two weeks. It must be passed by both the House and the Senate and signed by President Obama before it becomes law.

Tickets for U2's performances, including the second and final performances in Chicago, Boston and New York, went on sale on Ticketmaster on Monday morning. The tour is produced by Live Nation, which has announced a merger with Ticketmaster Entertainment, pending regulatory approval.

Schumer also announced that he has discussed his proposed legislation with Ticketmaster and that the company supports his proposal as well as his efforts to reform and bring more transparency to the resale industry. Schumer said he will meet with Ticketmaster and other ticket distributors to discuss a possible code-of-conduct for ticket reselling in New York and across the country.

"Ticketmaster recognizes that the ticket resale industry needs far-reaching changes to better protect consumers and ensure fair access to tickets," Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff said. "Staggering the resale process to commence 48 hours after an on-sale is a very important step in reforming the process and bringing transparency to the on-sale process."

Schumer's bill will not apply to season ticket holders for entertainment events or purchasers of a package of tickets for multiple events that are part of the same entertainment series. A secondary seller can purchase those tickets once they are listed for sale by the ticket holder subject to and in accordance with state and local laws and regulations.

The bill will also require ticket resellers to obtain a federal registration number from the FTC and will mandate that the resellers post that number in conjunction with all ticket resales on brokerage Web sites and through other means. This will help prevent fraudulent, anonymous sales. For enforcement purposes, the bill also will require that all paper and e-tickets contain on their face the date and time of sale. Any falsification of this information will also violate the law.

Given fans' widespread acceptance and use of the secondary market, Schumer's bill does not make ticket reselling illegal. When ticket buyers need to sell their own tickets, or they want to attend an event and are willing to pay more not to be part of the initial sale, ticket reselling is acceptable.