The Government is being called on to follow the example set by the New York State Assembly and crack down on the use of ‘bot’ software by ticket touts.

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BrackezMassimo (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia Commons

The UK Government should “declare a war” on online ticket touts and criminalise the use of ‘bot’ software, ticketing agent The Ticket Factory has said.

Last month, The New York State Assembly criminalised the use of ticket bots – software used to bulk buy tickets for online resale, often at greatly inflated prices – and The Ticket Factory is calling for the UK to follow suit.

The use of such software was already illegal in New York, but new legislation has made it a criminal act. Anyone who knowingly resells tickets that were purchased with ticket bot software may now face imprisonment or a fine.

Stuart Cain, Managing Director of The Ticket Factory, said: “New York is the entertainment capital of the world and our government should be following in its footsteps and making ticket touting illegal.”

Un-tested legislation

A recent Government-commissioned report on the UK secondary ticketing market acknowledged the problems caused by bot software and called on event organisers to “do more” to protect themselves from tout attacks.

Report author Professor Michael Waterson stopped short of recommending new legislation to ban the use of bot software, as he said this may already be illegal under the Computer Misuse Act, but this has yet to be tested in court.

Cain described the report as “yet another kick in the teeth for artists and true music fans”.

“Ticket touting has evolved drastically over the years,” he said. “It’s no longer the stereotypical ‘dodgy dealer’ trying to flog you a ticket outside the venue – these are global, well-financed organisations and cyber-warriors that we’re dealing with.”

He continued: “We need the government to pull its finger out and work with us to address touting and cybercrime once and for all.”

Last year, tickets for the Barbican’s production of Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, appeared on secondary ticket site Viagogo priced at £350 just “moments after” going on sale.

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A photo of Frances Richens