NY senator unveils ticketing legislation

Law calls for two-day wait for ticket resellers

NASHVILLE -- With the backdrop of Monday's second round of U2 tickets for their fall concert in New York, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer unveiled new legislation to improve fans' chances of getting tickets at face price and 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, according to a press release.

Schumer's legislation is geared to help ensure fans get first crack at good seats at face value prices before ticket resellers buy up tickets to sell on the secondary market. Schumer's legislation also requires ticket resellers to obtain a federal registration number from the FTC, and post that number in conjunction with all ticket re-sales on brokerage website and through other means.

Schumer's legislation will be introduced when the Senate goes back in session in two weeks and then it must be passed by both 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 Monday at 10am. The tour is produced by Live Nation, which is in talks to merge with Ticketmaster Entertainment pending regulatory approval.

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

"I am very happy to support Sen. Schumer's thoughtful proposal and leadership on this issue," said Irving Azoff, CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc. "Ticketmaster recognizes that the ticket resale industry needs far-reaching changes to better protect consumers and ensure fair access to tickets. 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 websites and through other means. This will help prevent fraudulent, anonymous sales. Venues may buy back tickets from ticket holders without obtaining a registration number. Finally, for enforcement purposes, the bill 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 on-sale, ticket reselling is acceptable, according to the release.

Schumer also commended Ticketmaster for acting responsibly in early February by announcing a policy to no longer allow the prelisting of tickets on TicketsNow prior to on-sales and for working cooperatively with him to enhance consumer protection and make the ticket sale process more transparent to the public. Schumer also called on other resale Web sites to immediately implement similar voluntary measures to bar the prelisting of tickets pending passage and implementation of his legislation.