Text: H.R.4795 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/09/2010)

 
[Congressional Bills 111th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 4795 Introduced in House (IH)]

111th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4795

    To prohibit restrictions on the resale of event tickets sold in 
     interstate commerce as an unfair or deceptive act or practice.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             March 9, 2010

Mr. Matheson (for himself and Mr. Terry) introduced the following bill; 
       which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
    To prohibit restrictions on the resale of event tickets sold in 
     interstate commerce as an unfair or deceptive act or practice.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Ticket Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Sponsors and promoters of major music, sporting, and 
        theatrical events are increasingly seeking to control the 
        resale of tickets to such events in the secondary market, by 
        employing restrictive State laws, imposing and enforcing 
        onerous contractual or license terms, and imposing 
        technological barriers on ticket resale.
            (2) Such restrictions and downstream controls substantially 
        impede interstate commerce in event tickets, drive up ticket 
        prices, reduce availability of tickets to interested 
        purchasers, narrow the choices available to the public, and are 
        unfair to consumers.
            (3) Eliminating such restrictions and applying free market 
        principles to the secondary market in event tickets would 
        encourage a robust competitive marketplace in such tickets, 
        would promote the healthy growth of electronic commerce in such 
        tickets in online marketplaces, and would be in the best 
        interests of ticket purchasers, fans, and the general public.
            (4) Purchasers of event tickets, whether in the primary or 
        secondary ticket markets, are entitled to minimum consumer 
        protection standards, including provisions for full refunds of 
        ticket purchases in appropriate circumstances.
            (5) In order to achieve a nationwide free market in resale 
        of event tickets, Congress must act to preempt State or local 
        laws that unjustifiably restrict such resales, while preserving 
        State and local authority to legislate or regulate to prevent 
        fraud, maintain public order, or vindicate other legitimate 
        State and local interests.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal 
        Trade Commission.
            (2) Event.--The term ``event'' means any concert, 
        theatrical performance, sporting event, exhibition, show, or 
        similar scheduled activity, taking place in a venue with a 
        seating or attendance capacity exceeding 1,000 persons--
                    (A) that is open to the general public;
                    (B) for which an admission fee is charged; and
                    (C) that is promoted, advertised, or marketed in 
                interstate commerce or for which event tickets are 
                generally sold in interstate commerce.
            (3) Event ticket.--The term ``event ticket'' means any 
        physical, electronic, or other form of a certificate, document, 
        voucher, token, or other evidence indicating that the bearer, 
        possessor, or person entitled to possession through purchase or 
        otherwise has--
                    (A) a revocable or irrevocable right, privilege, or 
                license to enter an event venue or occupy a particular 
                seat or area in an event venue with respect to one or 
                more events; or
                    (B) an entitlement to purchase such a right, 
                privilege, or license with respect to one or more 
                future events.
            (4) Person.--The term ``person'' means any natural person, 
        partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, 
        including any person acting under color or authority of State 
        law.
            (5) Resale.--The term ``resale'' includes any form of 
        transfer, or offering to transfer, of possession or entitlement 
        to possession of an event ticket from one person to another, 
        with or without consideration, whether in person or by means of 
        telephone, mail, delivery service, facsimile, Internet, email, 
        or other electronic means. The term ``resale'' does not include 
        the initial sale of an event ticket by the ticket issuer.
            (6) State.--The term ``State'' means any of the several 
        States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto 
        Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United 
        States.
            (7) Ticket issuer.--The term ``ticket issuer'' means any 
        person that first makes event tickets available, directly or 
        indirectly, to the general public, and may include--
                    (A) the operator of a venue;
                    (B) the sponsor or promoter of an event;
                    (C) a sports team participating in an event or a 
                league whose teams are participating in an event;
                    (D) a theater company, musical group or similar 
                participant in an event; or
                    (E) an agent of any such person.
            (8) Venue.--The term ``venue'' means the theater, stadium, 
        field, hall, or other facility where an event takes place.

SEC. 4. PROHIBITION.

    (a) Unlawful Conduct.--Except as otherwise provided in this Act, it 
shall be unlawful for any ticket issuer to prohibit or restrict the 
resale or offering for resale of an event ticket by a lawful possessor 
thereof.
    (b) Activities Described.--Activities prohibited to ticket issuers 
by this Act include--
            (1) purporting to impose license or contractual terms on 
        the initial sale of event tickets (including terms printed on 
        the back of a physical ticket) that prohibit resale of the 
        ticket, or restrict the price or other terms and conditions 
        under which a ticket may be resold;
            (2) requiring the purchaser of a ticket, whether for a 
        single event or for a series or season of events, to agree not 
        to resell the ticket, or to resell the ticket only through a 
        specific channel approved by the ticket issuer;
            (3) bringing legal action, based on an unlawful prohibition 
        or restriction on resale of an event ticket, against--
                    (A) a purchaser who resells or offers to resell an 
                event ticket without permission of the ticket issuer, 
                or in violation of a restriction purportedly imposed by 
                the ticket issuer;
                    (B) persons who facilitate or provide services for 
                the resale of event tickets without such permission or 
                in alleged violation of such a restriction; or
                    (C) the operator of a physical or electronic 
                marketplace in which a ticket is offered for resale 
                without such permission or in alleged violation of such 
                a restriction;
            (4) imposing any penalty on a ticket purchaser who resells 
        or offers to resell an event ticket without permission or in 
        violation of a restriction purportedly imposed by the ticket 
        issuer, or treating such a purchaser in any material way less 
        favorably than a similarly situated purchaser who does not 
        resell or offer to resell an event ticket, or who complies with 
        resale restrictions purportedly imposed by the ticket issuer;
            (5) employing technological means, including any means of 
        promoting, carrying out, documenting or verifying sales of 
        event tickets, or of controlling entry to venues by lawful 
        possessors of event tickets, that have the effect of 
        prohibiting or restricting the ability of purchasers to resell 
        such tickets; or
            (6) seeking to limit or restrict the price, or to impose a 
        minimum or maximum price, at which an event ticket may be 
        resold.

SEC. 5. CONSUMER PROTECTION MINIMUM STANDARDS.

    (a) Unlawful Conduct.--It shall be unlawful for any person to 
engage in the primary or resale market for event ticket sales in any 
manner specified in subsection (b) without complying with the consumer 
protection minimum standards specified in this section with regard to 
event ticket sales.
    (b) Application.--This section applies to all persons engaged in 
the trade or business of--
            (1) acting as a ticket issuer;
            (2) engaging in the resale of event tickets, except in the 
        case of an individual engaged in resales of no more than 25 
        tickets in any one year; or
            (3) providing a physical or electronic marketplace for the 
        sale or resale of event tickets by other persons.
    (c) Compliance.--A person subject to this section may comply with 
its provisions by conducting its sales or resales of event tickets in a 
physical or electronic marketplace that provides the consumer 
protection minimum standards specified in this section.
    (d) General Requirements.--All persons subject to this section 
shall--
            (1) maintain a toll-free telephone number for complaints 
        and inquiries regarding its activities in the sale or resale of 
        event tickets; and
            (2) implement and reasonably publicize a standard refund 
        policy that meets the minimum standards stated in subsection 
        (d).
    (e) Requirements of Refund Policy.--The standard refund policy 
described in subsection (c)--
            (1) shall provide a consumer who purchases an event ticket 
        from the person a full refund if--
                    (A) the event is canceled before the scheduled 
                occurrence of the event, and is not rescheduled;
                    (B) the event ticket sold by the person and 
                received by the purchaser is counterfeit;
                    (C) the event ticket has been canceled by the 
                ticket issuer for nonpayment by the original purchaser, 
                or for any reason other than an act or omission of the 
                consumer;
                    (D) the event ticket materially and to the 
                detriment of the consumer fails to conform to the 
                description provided by the seller; or
                    (E) the event ticket was not delivered to the 
                consumer prior to the occurrence of the event, unless 
                such failure of delivery was due to any act or omission 
                of the consumer;
            (2) shall include in a full refund the full price paid by 
        the consumer for the event ticket, together with any fees 
        charged in connection with that purchase, including convenience 
        fees, processing fees, at-home printing charges, shipping and 
        handling charges, or delivery fees; and
            (3) may condition entitlement to a refund upon timely 
        return of the ticket purchased, and may include reasonable 
        safeguards against abuse of the policy.
    (f) Requirements as Minimum Requirements.--Nothing in this section 
shall be construed to prohibit any person subject to this section from 
implementing consumer protection policies that exceed the minimum 
standard set forth in this section, and that are otherwise compliant 
with this Act.

SEC. 6. ENFORCEMENT.

    (a) Unfair and Deceptive Act or Practice.--Any violation of section 
4 or 5 shall be treated as a violation of a rule under section 18 of 
the Federal Trade Commission Act regarding unfair or deceptive acts or 
practices.
    (b) Enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission.--The Commission 
shall enforce this Act in the same manner, by the same means, and with 
the same jurisdiction, powers and duties, as though all applicable 
provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act were incorporated into 
and made a part of this Act.
    (c) Enforcement by States.--
            (1) Civil action.--In any case in which the attorney 
        general of a State, or an agency of a State responsible for 
        consumer protection, has reason to believe that an interest of 
        the residents of that State has been or is adversely affected 
        by any person who violates section 4 or 5 of this Act, the 
        attorney general or the State agency, as parens patriae, may 
        bring a civil action on behalf of the residents of the State in 
        a district court of the United States of appropriate 
        jurisdiction--
                    (A) to enjoin further violation of section 4 or 5 
                by the defendant; or
                    (B) to obtain damages on behalf of residents of the 
                State, in an amount equal to the greater of--
                            (i) the actual monetary loss suffered by 
                        such residents; or
                            (ii) the amount determined under paragraph 
                        (2).
            (2) Statutory damages.--
                    (A) In general.--For purposes of paragraph 
                (1)(B)(ii), the amount determined under this paragraph 
                is the amount calculated by multiplying the number of 
                violations by up to $100, with each ticket subject to 
                an unlawful prohibition or restriction, or sold or 
                offered to be sold in violation of section 5, counted 
                as a separate violation.
                    (B) Limitation.--For any violation of section 4 or 
                5 with respect to any one event, the amount determined 
                under subparagraph (A) may not exceed $1,000,000.
            (3) Attorney fees.--In the case of any successful action 
        under paragraph (1), the court, in its discretion, may award 
        the costs of the action and reasonable attorney fees to the 
        State.
            (4) Rights of federal regulators.--The State shall serve 
        prior written notice of any action under paragraph (1) upon the 
        Federal Trade Commission and provide the Commission with a copy 
        of its complaint, except in any case in which such prior notice 
        is not feasible, in which case the State shall serve such 
        notice immediately upon instituting such action. The Federal 
        Trade Commission shall have the right--
                    (A) to intervene in the action;
                    (B) upon so intervening, to be heard on all matters 
                arising therein;
                    (C) to remove the action to the appropriate United 
                States district court; and
                    (D) to file petitions for appeal.
            (5) Construction.--For purposes of bringing any civil 
        action under paragraph (1), nothing in this Act shall be 
        construed to prevent an attorney general of a State from 
        exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by the 
        laws of that State to--
                    (A) conduct investigations;
                    (B) administer oaths or affirmations; or
                    (C) compel the attendance of witnesses or the 
                production of documentary and other evidence.
            (6) Venue; service of process.--
                    (A) Venue.--Any action brought under paragraph (1) 
                may be brought in the district court of the United 
                States that meets applicable requirements relating to 
                venue under section 1391 of title 28, United States 
                Code.
                    (B) Service of process.--In an action brought under 
                paragraph (1), process may be served in any district in 
                which the defendant--
                            (i) is an inhabitant; or
                            (ii) maintains a physical place of 
                        business.
            (7) Limitation on state action while federal action is 
        pending.--If the Commission has instituted a civil action or an 
        administrative action for violation of this Act, no State 
        attorney general, or official or agency of a State, may bring 
        an action under this subsection during the pendency of that 
        action against any defendant named in the complaint of the 
        Commission for any violation of this Act alleged in the 
        complaint.

SEC. 7. EFFECT ON STATE LAW.

    (a) Preemption in General.--Except as otherwise provided in this 
section, this Act preempts and supersedes any inconsistent statute, 
regulation, or rule of a State or political subdivision of a State that 
purports to permit any action prohibited by this Act, but only to the 
extent of such inconsistency.
    (b) Preemption of Antiscalping Laws.--This Act preempts and 
supersedes any statute, regulation, or rule of a State or political 
subdivision of a State that limits the price at which an event ticket 
may be resold.
    (c) Savings.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preempt the 
applicability of the law of a State or political subdivision of a State 
that--
            (1) regulates or prohibits the sale or resale of event 
        tickets--
                    (A) based on proximity of the location of sale to 
                the location of a venue; or
                    (B) in a manner that constitutes disorderly conduct 
                or breach of the peace;
            (2) empowers the operator of a venue or its agent to deny 
        admission to any person, or to eject any person from an event, 
        in order to preserve public safety or order, or to prevent or 
        restrict the admission of minors;
            (3) prohibits fraud, deception, or similar practices in 
        connection with the sale or resale of tickets, or prohibits the 
        sale or resale of counterfeit tickets;
            (4) treats a ticket as a license for any purpose other than 
        the prohibition or restriction of resale;
            (5) regulates the initial sale of event tickets by limiting 
        the number of tickets that may be purchased from a ticket 
        issuer by a single person; or
            (6) prohibits the intentional circumvention of 
        technological means employed by ticket issuers to enforce 
        limitations on the number of tickets that may be purchased by a 
        single person, or the sale or distribution of devices, computer 
        programs, or other tools for the purpose of such circumvention.

SEC. 8. EXCEPTIONS.

    Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted to invalidate restrictions 
on the resale of tickets imposed by--
            (1) sponsors or promoters of events intended solely to 
        benefit charitable endeavors, for which all tickets are 
        distributed free of charge;
            (2) not-for-profit educational institutions, with respect 
        to athletic events involving athletes or teams of such 
        institutions, to the extent that such restrictions apply to 
        tickets initially distributed by the institution to--
                    (A) students, faculty, staff members, or alumni 
                without charge; or
                    (B) members of bona fide booster organizations 
                consisting of those making substantial financial 
                contributions to the institution.

SEC. 9. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This Act shall take effect 1 year after the date of enactment, and 
shall apply to tickets for all events which occur on or after the 
effective date.
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