Digital Economy Bill Update

09 Nov 2016

Yesterday morning (November 1st), Nigel Adams MP presented his amendment to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee for the Digital Economy Bill – aiming to outlaw the misuse of bot technology by ticket touts to purchase excessive numbers of tickets and to knowingly resell them on the secondary market. 

This follows similar legislation introduced by New York State earlier this year. 

Drawing on evidence of ticket sales from shows by Green Day, The 1975, Black Sabbath, You Me At Six and The Tragically Hip, the amendment won unanimous cross-party backing from Labour and SNP members of the Committee. 

In the ensuing debate, the UK’s online ticket resale market was described as “a racket” and enforcement of current legislation contained in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as “extremely patchy”.

In response, Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Digital and Culture, highlighted that he had recently paid “eye-watering amounts” for Paul Simon tickets on the secondary market, and recognised a “very clear sense in the debate that there remains a problem to be solved”.

He added that measures to tackle automated purchasing were important but “not a panacea”, and called for a meeting of “all interested parties” (before Christmas) to investigate the issue further as well as further discussions between the National Cyber Security Centre and primary ticketing companies. 

Government will respond to recommendations made in the Waterson Review of secondary ticketing following these meetings

On the basis of a “clear commitment to making progress in this area”, the amendment was withdrawn.

We will circulate any significant updates as they happen, and have supplied the following quote to media:


“We fully support Nigel Adams MP in pursuing this issue. The abuse of software by touts to hack into ticketing sales and scalp inventory is a major bugbear for genuine fans and it is an issue where we need clarity in the law. However, as was made clear by MPs at the Committee and also by the Minister, action against bots is not a silver bullet. To make the ticketing market function better for audiences, we also need proper enforcement of existing consumer law and regulation of the Big Four resale platforms.”


These actions were recently backed by more than 83,000 fans who signed a petition to Enforce the Consumer Rights Act. 

A full Hansard transcription can be viewed here.

Adam Webb, FanFair Alliance, Campaign Manager 
info@fanfairalliance.org