06/02/2017

TO PAPERLESS OR NOT TO PAPERLESS – THAT IS THE QUESTION…TO CUOMO

The New York State Legislature has a decision to make by June 21, and it will affect all ticketed events in New York in a big way. Our state lawmakers are deciding what aspects of New York Consolidated Laws, Arts and Cultural Affairs Laws (Article 25) to renew or replace, which are the statutes around the sale of tickets. There is a lot to unpack in these laws, but the one aspect that is getting a lot of attention is paperless ticketing.

Paperless ticketing is where the patron going to the event uses just their ID and the credit card they purchased the tickets with to gain entry. In New York, this practice is currently allowed with the following requirements:

“An option to purchase paperless tickets that the consumer can transfer at any price, at any time, and without additional fees, independent of the operator or operator’s agent” OR “An option at the time of initial sale to purchase the same tickets in some other form that is transferrable independent of the operator or operator’s agent including, but not limited to, paper tickets or e-tickets.”

The reason paperless ticketing is a hot topic is because it is a known effective deterrent to brokers in the resale of tickets. It has been effective across the US and abroad, yet New York is the only state currently where it is deemed illegal.

The prohibition of paperless ticketing went into effect in 2010 and the unrestricted resale of tickets went into effect in 2007. In January 2016, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a comprehensive report on the numerous woes consumers face when buying ticketing for entertainment in New York. This report, and fervent lobbying from industry leaders including Jeffrey Seller, the Broadway League and Ticketmaster, led the New York State Legislature to toughen the laws against ticketing bots, which accounted for thousands of tickets sold in seconds across high-demand events.

Recently, Izzy Zivkovic, who represents Kanye West, Ben Lovett, a founding member of Mumford & Sons, and Ian McAndrew, who represents Arctic Monkeys, along with Sen. Daniel Squadron of Manhattan, sent a letter to Governor Cuomo to make their demands for ticketing reform in New York clear. The most prominent proposal currently:

“would require more transparency within the industry, including a requirement for sellers to detail the percentage of tickets made available to the general public and those being allocated through presale events and other means.

It would also bar the offering of tickets that the seller does not yet possess and the resale of tickets during the first 48 hours after they first become available to the public.”

This proposal doesn’t include paperless ticketing, but would place the practice of holds and discreet sales channels squarely in the public eye.

This post barely scratches the surface of this issue, so I encourage everyone in the entertainment industry to make their voices heard and pay attention to the New York State Legislature over the next few weeks, as the effects of these laws will be wide sweeping and will be in effect for potentially the next decade.

Sources:

Current NYS Law on paperless ticketing – http://codes.findlaw.com/ny/arts-and-cultural-affairs-law/aca-sect-25-30.html

Passage of Paperless ticketing prohibition – http://www.ticketnews.com/new-york-legislature-assures-consumer-choice-by-overwhelmingly-passing-ticket-resale-bill/

Article on letter from music artists – http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/music-biz-reps-n-y-pol-call-cuomo-ticket-scalping-reform-article-1.3131466

Eric T. Schneiderman report – https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://ag.ny.gov/pdfs/Ticket_Sales_Report.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwiZnrCqipjUAhWB1CYKHRWOBP8QFgggMAE&usg=AFQjCNH9VtcDc1AsDepBhRQJPqyT5-9UiA&sig2=_cyZdqUIZv-PQEf6gHKKrg