A cross-party group of MPs and Peers joined with famous faces to call on the government to accept the “Ban the Bots” amendment ahead of the report stage of the Digital Economy Bill.
Led by MPs Sharon Hodgson and Nigel Adams, a photo call was held outside of parliament this afternoon attended by the likes of new Featured Artists Coalition CEO Imogen Heap, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child producer Sonia Friedman, and Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six!, along with a host of industry figures including Kilimanjaro Live chief Stuart Galbraith, MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick and ATC's Brian Message.
It was staged in advance of the Report Stage of the Digital Economy Bill on the same day, where MPs and Peers backed an amendment drafted by All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) On Music chairman Adams, which would ban the use of bots to buy tickets.
“It was excellent to see our cross-party campaign to take another step forward after many years of campaigning on the many issues in the ticketing industry which are locking fans out of seeing their favourite artist, sports team or theatre show," said Hodgson. "The chorus of concerns from industry, fans and Parliamentarians a like is becoming hard for the government to ignore. It’s time the government acted.”
The committee’s move follows years of campaigning by Hodgson and the APPG. “It’s time for the government to act on industrial scale ticket touting to protect genuine music fans," said Adams. "Criminalising the use of ‘bots’ by touts to buy up large numbers of tickets is a good place to start.”
The photo call also linked in with the #ToutsOut campaign by Fan Fair Alliance, which has been galvanising the industry to tackle ticket touting. It follows a parliamentary petition which saw more than 83,000 people call for further transparency measures in the market to help empower fans and protect them from the unscrupulous actions of touts.
FanFair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb added: “Criminalising the misuse of bots would disarm some of the worst online ticket touts - but it is important that Government does not stop there. We also need proper enforcement of consumer law to disrupt the touts’ overall business practices and bring transparency to the secondary ticketing sites that they operate from.”