The Face-Value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) has welcomed a vote by the European Parliament to approve the Digital Services Act, a new regulation to better tackle online harms that will have significant implications for ticket resale platforms.
The regulation passed with 539 votes in favour, 54 votes against and 30 abstentions. FEAT said the new rules will help prevent abuses on online marketplaces including ticket resale sites.
Measures will be included to ensure that professional sellers are identifiable, prevent certain manipulative sales tactics, and require regular reporting to improve transparency for consumers.
Under the new regulation, online marketplaces will be required to obtain essential information about third-party professional sellers, such as their name, contact details, bank details and ID, before traders are allowed to list tickets on the platform.
Marketplaces will also be required to make “best efforts” to assess whether the information is reliable and complete, and ensure that the seller’s name, contact and trading details appear on the listing, as well as conduct random checks to prevent the resurfacing of listings that contravene national laws.
FEAT noted that while ticket resale platforms can claim to be exempt from liability content provided by third parties, they could now be held responsible for tickets listed in contravention of national laws, where fans are led to believe that the ticket is provided by the platform itself or that the seller is acting under its control.
The regulation also prohibits the use of dark patterns, user interfaces which are designed to trick users into making certain decisions such as pop-ups or giving prominence to specific choices.
Additionally, online hosting platforms such as ticket resale sites will be required to produce easily comprehensible and publicly available annual reports on any content moderation activities relating to infringements of the law or the platform’s terms and conditions.
The Digital Services Act will require every EU member state to appoint a digital services coordinator to enforce the rules laid out in the regulation.
The act will now go through the formal adoption procedures by the European Council before it is published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and its provisions will mainly apply 15 months after entry into force or from January 1, 2024, whichever comes later.
FEAT welcomed the passing of the legislation but believes that the text could have gone further. The organisation said it will continue to campaign for tougher legislation to prohibit profiteering on recapped resale sites at the expense of fans and the live industry.
Sam Shemtob, director of FEAT, said: “The introduction of the Digital Services Act is a key moment for the live events sector in the UK, as well as across Europe.
“The new legislation regulating online marketplaces will see EU countries catch up with the UK in terms of stricter rules for verifying professional sellers and making sure fans know who they’re buying from. This will directly impact all UK artists who tour Europe, as well as make it harder for UK touts to operate under the guise of anonymity on European ticket resale sites.”
Per Kviman, chief executive of Versity Music and chair of the European Music Managers Alliance, which represents 1,800 music managers in 10 European countries, added: “The European Music Managers Alliance is very pleased to see new rules which protect both artists and the ticket-buying public have been approved by the European Parliament.
“This is an important step towards increasing accountability and to prevent scams, which will contribute towards a healthier European touring industry.”