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Sen. Chuck Schumer proposes U.S. crackdown on ticket bots, scalpers

Sen. Chuck Schumer announces the introduction of a

Sen. Chuck Schumer announces the introduction of a Senate that cracks down on hackers being able to use bots to steal popular concert tickets before fans have a chance to even turn on their computers, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in Wantagh. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Amy is not the only Schumer making headlines in the entertainment industry these days. At a news conference Monday at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, her cousin Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), announced plans to crack down on ticket bots, which are computer programs used to purchase concert and sporting event tickets online at rapid speed. These choice seats are then resold by scalpers at inflated prices.

Schumer has proposed legislation that will outlaw the use of ticket bots and the websites that resell the tickets.

"We've gotten hundreds of complaints in the last several months from all over the state, whether it was the Billy Joel concert at Nassau Coliseum, the summer shows at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater or the upcoming Paul McCartney concert in Buffalo. These bots are insidious," Schumer said. "Thousands of tickets get scooped up within five minutes, then sold on secondary websites for thousands of dollars. It's cruel to fans."

Schumer said the Federal Trade Commission has the right to penetrate these websites but first they must be made illegal. "The only way to stop them is with the law," Schumer said. "The FTC will find the websites, put a cease-and-desist order on them and prevent them from selling, plus level fines in the millions for unfair trade practice."

Fans First, a coalition of more than 200 live entertainment industry members, venues, teams and artists, including Live Nation, supports Schumer's legislation to ban the automated ticket-buying software.

"These programs too often leave real fans empty-handed," said Chad Kolton, a representative for Fans First. "Many states have passed legislation to combat bots, but federal action is needed. The Fans First coalition applauds efforts to take on those who use bots to get an advantage over real fans of live entertainment."

Schumer said he has bipartisan support on the matter and hopes to get it passed in Congress by the end of the year.

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