Secondary ticketers have fired a new salvo in their ongoing legal battle with Ticketmaster, saying in a court filed counter-complaint that the ticketing giant secretly provided the tools, including ticket bots, necessary for select scalpers to get tickets.
Ticketmaster has been battling secondary ticketing firms Prestige Entertainment and Renaissance Ventures in the court system, accusing them of employing bots to harvest tickets to “Hamilton.” The Live Nation subsidiary filed a lawsuit in October alleging the two companies are breaching an agreement with the New York’s attorney general by using the technology.
Prestige, however, has punched back, saying that TM is its own culprit, creating and disseminating its own bots then pointing the finger elsewhere, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
TM “alleges that many tickets to this show were purchased by bots, which it alleges deprived the public of fair access to primary exchange tickets,” the cross-complaint alleges. “However, TM fails to mention that, on information and belief, many tickets for each show of Hamilton were in fact never placed onto the primary ticket exchange, but went directly to the secondary ticket market for resale at significantly higher prices.”
The cross-complaint further claims that “when TM sells a ticket to a reseller, it not only collects the full commission from that primary sale, but it has a significantly higher chance of that ticket being placed on one of its secondary ticket exchanges — after all, resale is what resellers do,” continues the complaint. “TM then receives a second, ‘double-dip’ commission on the resale of that ticket. TM’s ticket listings for popular shows are often dominated by tickets on its resale exchange - tickets which originally came from its primary exchange and thus for which it is getting double-dip commissions.”
Also, “Upon information and belief, TM has actually provided automated programs to ticket resellers in order to allow them to purchase tickets from TM or immediately post those tickets to TM’s own secondary exchange for resale faster and in automated fashion. Such “double-dip bots” created and distributed by TM for use on its own ticketing system not only belie the false narrative that TM offers concerning attempts to stop bots or ticket resellers from purchasing tickets, but also evidence TM’s use of its overwhelming primary ticket exchange market power to control the secondary ticket market as well.”
A spokesperson for Ticketmaster responded to the THR article:
“The claims made in this filing are patently false. Ticketmaster in no way, shape or form supplies automated programs known as bots to give ticket resellers an advantage over real fans. Ticketmaster has taken a strong stance against bots, has zero tolerance for their use, and cancels tickets that are purchased using them. Prestige Entertainment is one of the country’s most notorious bot users, and these claims are a desperate attempt to shift the focus away from their illegal business model, which the court previously stated ‘is built on a scheme to evade Ticketmaster’s policies for profit.'”
Full complaint available here.