Text: S.3183 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 114-274 (12/14/2016)
[114th Congress Public Law 274]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[[Page 130 STAT. 1401]]
Public Law 114-274
To prohibit the circumvention of control measures used by Internet
ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for any
given event, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 14, 2016 - [S.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Better Online
Ticket Sales Act of 2016.>>
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 15 USC 58 note.>> SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Better Online Ticket Sales Act of
2016'' or the ``BOTS Act of 2016''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 15 USC 45c.>> UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE ACTS AND
PRACTICES RELATING TO CIRCUMVENTION OF TICKET
ACCESS CONTROL MEASURES.
(a) Conduct Prohibited.--
(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), it
shall be unlawful for any person--
(A) to circumvent a security measure, access control
system, or other technological control or measure on an
Internet website or online service that is used by the
ticket issuer to enforce posted event ticket purchasing
limits or to maintain the integrity of posted online
ticket purchasing order rules; or
(B) to sell or offer to sell any event ticket in
interstate commerce obtained in violation of
subparagraph (A) if the person selling or offering to
sell the ticket either--
(i) participated directly in or had the
ability to control the conduct in violation of
subparagraph (A); or
(ii) knew or should have known that the event
ticket was acquired in violation of subparagraph
(2) Exception.--It shall not be unlawful under this section
for a person to create or use any computer software or system--
(A) to investigate, or further the enforcement or
defense, of any alleged violation of this section or
other statute or regulation; or
(B) to engage in research necessary to identify and
analyze flaws and vulnerabilities of measures, systems,
or controls described in paragraph (1)(A), if these
research activities are conducted to advance the state
of knowledge in the field of computer system security or
to assist in the development of computer security
(b) Enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission.--
(1) Unfair or deceptive acts or practices.--A violation of
subsection (a) shall be treated as a violation of a rule
[[Page 130 STAT. 1402]]
an unfair or a deceptive act or practice under section
18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C.
(2) Powers of commission.--
(A) In general.--The Commission shall enforce this
section in the same manner, by the same means, and with
the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all
applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade
Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated
into and made a part of this section.
(B) Privileges and immunities.--Any person who
violates subsection (a) shall be subject to the
penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities
provided in the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C.
41 et seq.).
(C) Authority preserved.--Nothing in this section
shall be construed to limit the authority of the Federal
Trade Commission under any other provision of law.
(c) Enforcement by States.--
(1) In general.--In any case in which the attorney general
of a State has reason to believe that an interest of the
residents of the State has been or is threatened or adversely
affected by the engagement of any person subject to subsection
(a) in a practice that violates such subsection, the attorney
general of the State may, as parens patriae, bring a civil
action on behalf of the residents of the State in an appropriate
district court of the United States--
(A) to enjoin further violation of such subsection
by such person;
(B) to compel compliance with such subsection; and
(C) to obtain damages, restitution, or other
compensation on behalf of such residents.
(2) Rights of federal trade commission.--
(A) Notice to federal trade commission.--
(i) <<NOTE: Deadline.>> In general.--Except
as provided in clause (iii), the attorney general
of a State shall notify the Commission in writing
that the attorney general intends to bring a civil
action under paragraph (1) not later than 10 days
before initiating the civil action.
(ii) <<NOTE: Records.>> Contents.--The
notification required by clause (i) with respect
to a civil action shall include a copy of the
complaint to be filed to initiate the civil
(iii) Exception.--If it is not feasible for
the attorney general of a State to provide the
notification required by clause (i) before
initiating a civil action under paragraph (1), the
attorney general shall notify the Commission
immediately upon instituting the civil action.
(B) Intervention by federal trade commission.--The
(i) intervene in any civil action brought by
the attorney general of a State under paragraph
(ii) upon intervening--
(I) be heard on all matters arising
in the civil action; and
(II) file petitions for appeal of a
decision in the civil action.
(3) Investigatory powers.--Nothing in this subsection may be
construed to prevent the attorney general of a State
[[Page 130 STAT. 1403]]
from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by
the laws of the State to conduct investigations, to administer
oaths or affirmations, or to compel the attendance of witnesses
or the production of documentary or other evidence.
(4) Preemptive action by federal trade commission.--If the
Commission institutes a civil action or an administrative action
with respect to a violation of subsection (a), the attorney
general of a State may not, during the pendency of such action,
bring a civil action under paragraph (1) against any defendant
named in the complaint of the Commission for the violation with
respect to which the Commission instituted such action.
(5) Venue; service of process.--
(A) Venue.--Any action brought under paragraph (1)
may be brought in--
(i) the district court of the United States
that meets applicable requirements relating to
venue under section 1391 of title 28, United
States Code; or
(ii) another court of competent jurisdiction.
(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) may be found.
(6) Actions by other state officials.--
(A) In general.--In addition to civil actions
brought by attorneys general under paragraph (1), any
other consumer protection officer of a State who is
authorized by the State to do so may bring a civil
action under paragraph (1), subject to the same
requirements and limitations that apply under this
subsection to civil actions brought by attorneys
(B) Savings provision.--Nothing in this subsection
may be construed to prohibit an authorized official of a
State from initiating or continuing any proceeding in a
court of the State for a violation of any civil or
criminal law of the State.
SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 15 USC 45c note.>> DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal
(2) Event.--The term ``event'' means any concert, theatrical
performance, sporting event, show, or similarly scheduled
activity, taking place in a venue with a seating or attendance
capacity exceeding 200 persons that--
(A) is open to the general public; and
(B) is promoted, advertised, or marketed in
interstate commerce or for which event tickets are
generally sold or distributed 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
(A) a 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
[[Page 130 STAT. 1404]]
(B) an entitlement to purchase such a right,
privilege, or license with respect to one or more future
(4) Ticket issuer.--The term ``ticket issuer'' means any
person who makes event tickets available, directly or
indirectly, to the general public, and may include--
(A) the operator of the 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; and
(E) an agent for any such person.
Approved December 14, 2016.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 3183 (H.R. 5104):
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 114-733 (Comm. on Energy and Commerce) accompanying
SENATE REPORTS: No. 114-391 (Comm. on Commerce, Science, and
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 162 (2016):
Nov. 30, considered and passed Senate.
Dec. 7, considered and passed House.