BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 329
          Author:   Pan (D), et al.
          Amended:  5/7/13 in Assembly
          Vote:     21


           SENATE BUSINESS, PROF. & ECON. DEV. COMM.  :  10-0, 7/1/13
          AYES:  Lieu, Emmerson, Block, Corbett, Galgiani, Hernandez,  
            Hill, Padilla, Wyland, Yee

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  72-2, 5/23/13 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Ticket sellers:  equitable online ticket buying  
          process:  sale or use of circumventing software

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill makes it a misdemeanor to intentionally use  
          or sell software to circumvent a security measure, access  
          control system, or other control or measure on a ticket seller's  
          Internet Web site that is used to ensure an equitable ticket  
          buying process.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1.Declares that it shall be unlawful for a ticket seller to  
            contract for the sale of tickets or accept consideration for  
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            the sale of tickets unless the ticket seller meets one or more  
            of the following requirements:  (a) the ticket seller has the  
            ticket in his/her possession, (b) the ticket seller has a  
            written contract to obtain the offered ticket, as specified,  
            and (c) the ticket seller informs the purchaser that the  
            seller may not be able to supply the ticket at the contracted  
            price or range of prices, as specified.

          2.Makes failure to deliver the tickets within a reasonable time  
            or by a contracted time, at or below the price stated or  
            within the range of prices stated, punishable as a  
            misdemeanor.

          3.Requires that a ticket seller shall disclose any service  
            charges assessed, as provided.

          4.Provides that a violation of any of these provisions  
            constitutes a misdemeanor, and in addition authorizes a civil  
            penalty not to exceed $2,500 for each violation, which may be  
            assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name  
            of the people, as specified.

          5.Provides that any person who, without the written permission  
            of the owner or operator of the property on which an  
            entertainment event is to be held or is being held, sells a  
            ticket of admission to the entertainment event, which was  
            obtained for the purpose of resale, at any price which is in  
            excess of the price that is printed or endorsed upon the  
            ticket, while on the grounds of or in the stadium, arena,  
            theater, or other place where an event for which admission  
            tickets are sold is to be held or is being held, is guilty of  
            a misdemeanor.

          This bill provides that in addition to requirements for ticket  
          sellers under existing law, a person who intentionally uses or  
          sells software to circumvent a security measure, access control  
          system or other control or measure on a ticket seller's Internet  
          Web site that is used to ensure an equitable ticket buying  
          process is guilty of a misdemeanor.

           Background
           
           "Bots" and attempts to curb their use  .  "Bots" are robotic  
          ticket buying software programs that allow users to quickly buy  

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          tickets online.  Typically, these are used by unscrupulous  
          actors like ticket scalpers to buy tickets, then turn around and  
          sell the same tickets at increasingly higher prices.  Over the  
          past several years, numerous high profile concert ticket sales  
          have been impacted by the presumed use of "bots" in that  
          individuals wait online to purchase tickets while software  
          programs allow their users to jump to the front of the line and  
          purchase large numbers of tickets at one time.  According to the  
          author's office, this scenario often leads to concerts and other  
          high profile events selling out in a matter of minutes, leaving  
          fans ticketless and forcing them to spend more money to attend  
          an event.

          According to information provided by the author's office, the  
          ticket industry has attempted to combat problems caused by  
          "bots" by employing other technological means, such as  
          "Completely Automated Public Turing tests to tell Computers and  
          Humans Apart" (CAPTCHA), which include phrases and picture tests  
          at the point of sale during the online transaction to  
          differentiate between a human purchaser and a likely computer  
          program.  CAPTCHA tests, such as typing characters into a box,  
          are designed to prevent the use of "bots" because the requested  
          task is typically one that can be completed by a person but  
          would be difficult for a robotic software program to accurately  
          perform.

          Supporters of efforts to restrict the use of "bots" assert that  
          even these technological efforts are not completely successful  
          because the problem of instant sellouts and increased resale  
          prices for tickets continues to generate complaints from the  
          ticket-buying public.  California joins a number of states  
          including Tennessee, Michigan, New Jersey, New York,  
          Connecticut, and Minnesota who have waded into the debate and  
          considered or passed legislation imposing bans on "bots" and  
          establishing stiff penalties to those who use these systems. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  7/18/13)

          eBay, Inc.
          Fan Freedom
          StubHub

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          TechAmerica
          TechNet

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office, this  
          bill is designed to protect the rights of consumers by stopping  
          robotic ticket-buying software programs that jump ahead of the  
          line and create instant sellouts of entertainment events before  
          the average consumer has a chance.  These tickets are then  
          resold at extremely high costs, thus forcing a fan to spend more  
          money to attend the event without having had the chance to get a  
          face value ticket.  This bill will create consumer protections  
          for people trying to buy tickets by stopping "bots" machines  
          designed by resellers to buy up all the tickets before the  
          general public has a chance. 

          eBay, Inc. and StubHub write, "Protecting fan's ability to  
          access tickets to their favorite events in a safe, reliable and  
          consumer friendly environment that protects against fraud and  
          abuse is of significant importance to ensuring a positive  
          overall experience.  Passage of AB 329 furthers this goal by  
          addressing the well-established black market of unregulated  
          scalpers by prohibiting the use of robotic ticket-buying  
          software, or 'bots'? AB 329 would eliminate this abusive  
          practice."  eBay and StubHub call this bill an important step  
          forward to achieving and protecting consumer choice.

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  72-2, 5/23/13
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Ammiano, Atkins, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Blumenfield, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown,  
            Buchanan, Ian Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway,  
            Cooley, Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Eggman, Fong, Fox, Frazier,  
            Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gordon, Gorell, Gray,  
            Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Roger Hernández, Jones-Sawyer, Levine,  
            Linder, Logue, Lowenthal, Maienschein, Mansoor, Medina,  
            Melendez, Mitchell, Morrell, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian,  
            Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Patterson, Perea, V. Manuel Pérez,  
            Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Salas, Skinner, Stone, Ting,  
            Wagner, Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk, Williams, Yamada, John A.  
            Pérez
          NOES:  Allen, Donnelly
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Grove, Holden, Jones, Waldron, Vacancy,  
            Vacancy



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          MW:ej  8/12/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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