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Government review into secondary ticketing rejects pleas for price caps and making botnets illegal

26 May 2016, 12:57 | Written by Laurence Day

The Government's lengthy review into the secondary ticketing industry is here, and it's a bit of a disappointing read.

The review, authored by Professor Michael Waterson, economics professor at Warwick University, rejects pleas for price caps and rejects making botnets illegal. He also rejects a blanket ban on the industry, saying it would just drive the touts underground.

During the consultation period, many fans called for limitation on tickets being resold purely for profit, with a price cap on resales - 10% above face value. Radiohead, Adele, and Beyoncé fans have been shafted by touts regularly - sometimes unlawfully - some of whom likely use botnet services to harvest tickets the second they go on sale so that they can artifically inflate the prices.

Many artists have been vocal about secondary ticketing's pitfalls, including Prince, who cancelled an entire UK tour late last year because of it. A petition launched by Mumford & Sons and Little Mix aimed at battling touts has received almost 42,000 signatures.

Waterson says that price capping would be "difficult to police" and thinks that it "legitimises through legislation" the people who buy up tickets with the express purpose to resell.

Regarding botnets, Waterson says: "[The] use of bots and botnets is not necessarily malevolent – my understanding is that using a 'bot' on your own system or with authorisation of the system owner would be lawful."

A spokesperson for Stubhub told to the BBC: "We welcome Professor Waterson's recognition of the benefits for consumers from the secondary market and his decision to reject further legislation at this stage, including price caps."

Waterson also praised Glastonbury's personalisation of tickets, and recommends that the system be used more effectively across the primary ticketing market.

Interestingly, Waterson also takes aim at the primary market and concert promoters. Pre-sales in particular are a point Waterson looks at thoroughly, explaining that sometimes up to 90% of ticket stock is sold before general sale even begins.

Read the full report.

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