Digital Economy Bill passed by MPs

Legislation that could clamp down on ticket scalping in the UK is set to progress towards its final stage later today (Thursday) after being passed by MPs.

Amendments to the Digital Economy Bill suggested by the House of Lords at the start of April were agreed by the Commons on Wednesday. The legislation will proceed for Royal Assent should it – as expected – be passed by the Upper Chamber later.

The bill must be passed by May 3, as Parliament is about to be dissolved ahead of the General Election.

The only Lords amendment not to be accepted by MPs was the addition of condition of resale to the Consumer Rights Act. However, on the record, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock, stated that secondary sites should already be doing this under existing terms of the Act.

Ministers last month agreed to implement recommendations put forward in a report by Professor Michael Waterson last year.

The Digital Economy Bill will make it illegal to use software to bypass limits on the maximum number of tickets that can be bought. Primary ticket firms will be encouraged to report bot attacks to police, while operators must also introduce tougher anti-bot measures and there will be stronger enforcement of existing consumer rights laws.

The progress of the Digital Economy Bill was welcomed by Luke Massie, founder and managing director at marketplace Vibe Tickets.

“The government’s efforts to address the issues associated with the illegal reselling of tickets is extremely positive,” he said. “The bulk buying of event tickets to sell on at hyper-inflated prices is a massive and growing problem that is distorting the secondary ticket market. Unfortunately, this activity often goes undetected due to the lack of transparency during resale.

“Fans deserve to pay fair prices for live music, sporting events and other shows, even on the secondary market.

“Although supply and demand means that some people will still be willing to pay more than face value for tickets, the amendments to the Digital Economy Bill will go some way towards tackling this ongoing issue.”