The Australian state government of New South Wales are planning legislation to ban automated software that can rapidly buy multiple tickets for events such as concerts.
At first blush, this would seem a great win for the consumer. Which is presumably why it was announced (not the “great win” part, but the “it would seem” bit).
Why such scepticism here?
Firstly, let’s examine how such legislation might be drafted. It would need to;
- Define the software by the function it performs.
- Define the owner or user or beneficiary of the software.
- Define the operating jurisdiction of the legislation.
- Explain how to police the legislation for software running from another country (over a VPN, for example) or even another Australian state.
- Explain how to identify and prosecute the owner of the software.
- Define when the crime is committed; after just one ticket is bought?
As the title of this post infers, the legislation required for the banning of “bots” suggests the proposer has very little idea of how the internet works.
In addition, it’s yet another government solution where the market could be quite capable of resolving the issue;
If the artists and event organisers really wanted to prevent secondary sales of their tickets, they have many options available to deploy such as using pre-confirmed registered users on a website or ticket collection at the event with a standard form of identification.
Also, consider the consumer; plenty of people are clearly currently happy to pay above face value for tickets. The event organisers are missing a trick here; why not run the ticket sales process as a time-limited auction? This is, in effect, what the”scalpers” are doing and are taking the risk that they won’t sell all the tickets.
If you really want to fuck something up in a truly expensive and ineffective way, ask a government employee to implement a solution that nobody asked for.