Saturday, May 25, 2024

Local legislator files ‘Save our Swifties Bill’ to ban ticket bots

State Rep. Kronda Thimesch, who represents part of southern Denton County in the Texas Legislature, filed a bill this week to ban ticket “bots,” automated technology that purchases live event tickets before real people can buy them.

The issue got a lot of attention in November, when many Taylor Swift fans were left without tickets to her Eras Tour, the pop star’s first tour since 2018. Ticketmaster’s site crashed during a presale event, and then it canceled its planned general public sale because there weren’t enough tickets left. Ticketmaster and the use of bots have been under intensifying scrutiny since the debacle.

This week, just before Swift plays three shows at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Thimesch filed House Bill 2444, which “seeks to extend and enhance (federal) protections for Texas consumers,” according to a news release from Thimesch’s office. The freshman representative for House District 65 will present the bill on Monday to the Texas House Business & Industry Committee.

Often when online ticket sales open, bots will flood the web platforms, circumventing security measures that might be in place to prevent the mass purchase of tickets, according to Thimesch’s office. This practice removes available tickets from inventory for everyday consumers, and can also crash the ticket platform due to the flood of bot traffic on top of legitimate individual website visitors. Generally, overpurchasing of tickets by an individual utilizing bots results in those tickets being resold on the secondary market at a later date and for a much higher price. HB 2444 aims to provide further protections to Texas consumers, discourage malicious purchasing and reseller practices, and give the Texas Attorney General further authority to bring civil action if necessary.

“While bots provide some legitimate benefits in our everyday lives, they can also run automated tasks with malicious intent,” Thimesch said in a statement. “Bypassing the customary purchasing process for ticket marketplaces shuts out legitimate fans from enjoying music, arts and sports in our communities. In the last few years, the problem has exploded with many artists speaking out against the practice, but the existing federal law is under utilized and hard to enforce. It is time Texas has the tools necessary to protect our own consumers, and I am excited to present this bill to my House colleagues on Monday!”

HB 2444 has bipartisan support, according to Thimesch, including Charmain Giovanni Capriglione who is a joint author and State Senator Judith Zaffirini, who filed an identical companion bill in the Texas Senate.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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