In October, we reported that Ontario's attorney general is preparing legislation to outlaw so-called "scalper bots" — the software programs resellers use to buy large blocks of tickets faster than the average customer, i.e., the reason you didn't get to see The Tragically Hip.
New York State has gone a step further. On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that criminalizes ticket bots and could put resellers caught gaming the system behind bars. Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, the Broadway musical keeping many second-party sites afloat, had previously endorsed the legislation in a New York Times op-ed.
In New York, the use of such bots is already subject to a fine, but the new law aims to deter would-be offenders with harsher penalties. An individual found operating ticket bot programs will now be charged with a misdemeanour crime carrying a $1,000 fine or twice their gain from the act, plus one year in jail. The same goes for resellers found trafficking tickets obtained by bots.
According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman: "Brokers armed with illegal, high-speed ticket-buying bots have kept too many New Yorkers from attending the shows, sporting events, and cultural experiences that make New York so special." The law would go a long way, he said, to "finally bringing sanity—and fairness—to the ticket buying process."
Imagine being the first sucker convicted and locked up on a Hamilton?
Or "What're you in for?"
"I bought 100 tickets to Adele."