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Music Canada Live Applauds Ontario’s Proposed Ticket Resale Laws

June 28th, 2017

[Photo: Deadicated/Wikimedia Commons]

[Photo: Deadicated/Wikimedia Commons]

Music Canada Live has issued a statement in response to the the Government of Ontario’s proposed new legislation that aims to crack down on ticket scalping and scalpers’ use of ticket-buying bots, as well as price caps for tickets sold through secondary market sites like StubHub.com and SeatGeek.com.

Earlier this year, around 34,700 answered a government online survey on the topic, which showed overwhelming support for outlawing ticket buying software and for a price markup limit on resold tickets.

The issue of astronomical prices for concert tickets on the secondary market reached a fever pitch last year when tickets for The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour were selling online for hundreds or even thousands of dollars over face value.

The new laws proposed by the Ministry of the Attorney General are:

– Prohibit unfair and excessive markups by prohibiting the resale of tickets at more than 50 per cent above face value.

-Banning the use and sale of ticket-buying software – also known as ticket bots – that are used to block legitimate fans and scoop up the best seats the moment an event goes on sale

-Forbidding the sale of tickets on the resale market that are not owned or possessed by the seller (i.e. speculative tickets)Continuing to restrict the resale of tickets unless they are verified by the primary seller, or the reseller offers a money-back guarantee.

-Primary ticket sellers would be required to disclose the number of tickets that would be available through the general on-sale, as well as the capacity of the event

-Ticket resellers and online resale platforms would be required to disclose the original face value of the ticket and precise seat location, as well as the identity of a commercial reseller

-All ticket-selling businesses would be required to disclose the all-in price of a ticket up front, plus clearly indicate the currency.

-Empowering the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to investigate alleged violations of the law with the authority to issue administrative monetary penalties and compliance orders

-Establishing new provincial offences, increased fines and administrative monetary penalties for violations

-Creating dedicated rights of action for industry and consumers resulting from violations of the new rules

-Allowing the police to investigate and charge violators of prohibitions against the use of bots.

The statement from Music Canada Live reads in full:

“Music Canada Live thanks the office of the Attorney General for yesterday’s announcement regarding changes to Ontario’s ticket laws.  We appreciate the considerable time and energy invested with industry stakeholders and fans on the legislative consultation process with a goal to deliver music fans greater protections in the future.

Canada’s live music operators witness firsthand the impact of fraudulent activities on music fans.  Many have purchased tickets through a third-party, believing they were buying from the primary seller.  These tickets are often sold by unscrupulous operators acting outside of Ontario in foreign currencies, or come with excessive service fees – identified only after the sale at which point the fan gets their credit card bill and has little or no recourse.  In other cases, fans are showing up at the venue with illegitimate tickets that will not grant them entry to the event.

We are hopeful that when additional details of the proposed changes are disclosed, these issues will be addressed.  We look forward to further consultations to assist in the process of ensuring a fair and transparent playing field for all Ontarians.” said Erin Benjamin, Executive Director of Music Canada Live.

To learn more about Ontario’s proposed changes to ticket laws, click here.

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