The recent allegations against Wiseguy Tickets (which their lawyer does not seem to deny) represents a step forward for law enforcement in the illegal and unfair practice of hacking primary ticket seller websites to get the best tickets. Simultaneously, this case represents a step backward for ticket resellers.
Look like an admission to me: Wiseguys lawyer, Mark Rush, stated that “Wiseguys were simply businessmen who came up with technology that essentially allowed them to get to the head of the digital line for Internet tickets, much like fans who used to camp out overnight to be first in line to buy tickets at the box office.” That statement brazenly glosses over the ‘access policies‘ enforced by primary market ticket sellers and Federal laws that prohibit hacking private computer networks – which include ticket sellers websites.
The Good: It is about time the FBI took a serious and public stand against those who use ‘bots’ to illegally obtain event tickets. The practice is boldly and openly practiced with seemingly little enforcement action. Showing some creativity, the fed’s allegations focus on fraudulent and illegal access to private computer networks in an effort to obtain event tickets. They approach the case in this way because there is no federal law against buying tickets with the intent to resell them, or ticket scalping as a practice, though there are some state laws. Hopefully for the consumer enforcement action to this end with increase.
The Bad: News of this case is a setback for ticket resellers who seek to shed the ‘scalper’ image of the past. Ticket resellers should be speaking out against this illegal and unfair practice. This kind of news does not help advance a positive image of the industry and only angers fans who are unfairly denied access to event tickets.
It will be interesting to see how Ticketmaster/Live Nation address this issue. Seems to me that they could spend millions trying to sue those who hack their sites, but if I were them, I would be hiring some technical talent capable of plugging the security holes exposed by this case.
Federal Indictment on Wired.com