Today, a cross-party group of MPs and Peers led by Sharon Hodgson MP and Nigel Adams MP joined with famous faces, such as Imogen Heap, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child producer Sonia Friedman, and Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six, to call on the Government to accept the “Ban the Bots” amendment during Report Stage of the Digital Economy Bill.
This took the shape of a photo call outside of Parliament ahead of Report Stage of the Digital Economy Bill on the same day, where MPs and Peers backed an amendment drafted by Nigel Adams MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, and tabled on a cross-party basis by the entire Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and supported by Sharon Hodgson MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, and Tom Watson, Labour’s Culture Secretary and Labour’s Shadow Culture, Media and Sport team, which would ban the use of bots to buy tickets.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s move follows years of campaigning by Sharon and the APPG for Ticket Abuse to consider how to tackle different aspects of a multi-faceted issue.
The photo call also linked in with the #ToutsOut campaign by Fan Fair Alliance, who have been galvanising the industry to tackle ticket touting and ensure fans are put first in the market.
This came off the back of 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.
Following the photo call, Sharon Hodgson MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, said:
“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. 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.”
Nigel Adams MP, Chair of the APPG for Music and the original lead sponsor of the Ban the Bots amendment, said:
“It’s time for the government to act on industrial scale ticket touting to protect genuine music fans. Criminalising the use of ‘bots’ by touts to buy up large numbers of tickets is a good place to start.”
Adam Webb, Campaign Manager for FanFair Alliance, said:
“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.”