By Amanda Wicks
UPDATE (12/15 @ 3:30pm): The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016 has been signed by President Obama, making it a federal offense to use computer software to purchase tickets online. According to WhiteHouse.gov, the Act “prohibits the circumvention of control measures used by Internet ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for certain events.”
“You shouldn’t have to fight robots to see something you love” may sound like what a futuristic action movie’s hero says before all hell breaks loose, but it’s actually a creed Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote in a The New York Times op-ed about the proposed Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act.
The BOTS Act proposed making it illegal for automated programs to scoop up tickets by bypassing security software designed to limit ticket sales, and then selling those tickets on second party sites like StubHub for a huge price surge. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman investigated just how much more bots charged for tickets, and, according to that report, found the general increase to be around 49%.
The Act passed the Senate last week and the House of Representatives yesterday, and will now proceed to President Obama for his signature of final approval. It will only be applicable to shows with over 200 people, but violations can now be prosecuted by Federal Trade Commission or individual states.