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Ontario Vs. Ticketmaster - the latest


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From today's Globe:

Ontario to introduce legislation today on ticket sales

KEITH LESLIE

Canadian Press

April 29, 2009 at 7:44 AM EDT

TORONTO — Ontario will take on U.S. entertainment giant Ticketmaster today by introducing legislation to stop companies from reselling concert tickets at inflated prices on resale site that they own, the Canadian Press has learned.

Attorney General Chris Bentley will introduce amendments to Ontario's Ticket Speculation Act that the government believes will help ensure consumers have fair access to tickets for concerts, sporting events and the theatre, sources said.

“This is about fairness,†Mr. Bentley is quoted as saying in a release. “Ontarians have spoken out clearly, resoundingly and unequivocally against companies benefiting from the primary and secondary markets.â€

The legislation would prohibit related primary and secondary ticket sellers from selling tickets to the same event.

Ticketmaster owns the resale site TicketsNow, but has always maintained it does not own tickets offered on TicketsNow, which it says is open to anyone reselling tickets. Ticketmaster also says it does not give TicketsNow preferred or exclusive access to any tickets.

Individuals could be fined up to $5,000 and corporations up to $50,000 for violating Ontario's proposed new rules.

The legislation responds to public concern that companies may make tickets available for sale on the primary market and then again on the secondary market, at a much higher price, said the release.

Last month, Industry Minister Tony Clement asked the federal Competition Bureau to investigate Ticketmaster, but internal documents obtained by the Canadian Press show the federal government has limited options for dealing with allegations of inflated ticket prices.

“The legislative consumer protection instruments and powers in regard to this matter rest largely at the provincial level,†said the censored document, obtained under the Access to Information Act.

Ticketmaster purchased TicketsNow last year for $265 million (U.S.), and takes a cut of every ticket resold through TicketsNow in addition to the original service charges it levies when tickets are first sold.

Four class-action lawsuits have been filed against the company in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, provinces that have anti-scalping legislation on the books.

Artists from Bruce Springsteen to Charlie Pride have lashed out at TicketsNow and other on-line resale sites for charging fans hugely inflated prices for concert tickets.

In February, Ticketmaster agreed to a voluntary deal with the New Jersey attorney general — a deal that applies throughout the United States — to prevent sales on TicketsNow until the initial sale has begun on the main Web site.

The settlement, which included a payment of $350,000 to the state, followed a public outcry over sales of tickets to a Feb. 2 concert by Mr. Springsteen.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090429.wtickets0429/BNStory/National/home

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I would like to see how this is going to be enforced. Will all events taking place in Ontario be removed from TicketsNow? Will people FROM Ontario be blocked from buying tickets to ANY event on TicketsNow?

I mean, I am all for a meaningful, well thought out solution to these issues, but this will accomplish nothing.

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  • 1 year later...

Booyah

Ontario has passed a law aimed at stopping U.S. entertainment giant Ticketmaster from selling and reselling the same tickets to the same concert or sporting event.

The Liberal government, supported by the NDP, passed the Ticket Speculation Act, which Attorney General Chris Bentley said will ensure people have fair access to events.

Bentley said people were fed up with trying to buy tickets the minute they go on sale, only to be redirected to another site where prices are much higher.

People complained they were getting ripped off because tickets would appear at inflated prices on TicketsNow, a resale site owned by Ticketmaster, minutes after going on sale on the primary site.

Bentley said the law is not aimed only at Ticketmaster, but the Opposition disagrees, and warns the legislation will not do anything to stop the resale of concert, theatre and sporting tickets at inflated prices.

The Tories note Ontario's existing law banning tickets from being sold above face value is never enforced.

Ticketmaster has, in the past, expressed disappointment with the Ontario legislation, saying it would do nothing to enhance protection for consumers who create and drive the resale market.

It has said the company is committed to a transparent, secure marketplace for tickets, and that TicketsNow is "fuelled by the public's demand for scarce event tickets."

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