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June 8, 2010
Digital Tickets Raise Ownership Questions
The New York Times reports on the latest rounds in the battles between ticket vendors and resellers (or scalpers depending on your point of view). The challenge is that a "ticket" is often no longer a physical object whose transfer can easily be monitored. Getting into a venue can be a matter of what's on your smartphone, what's in your email, etc.
Most of the article is about the effort to fight botters and scalpers but the key Copyfight issue here turns around whether or not you have the legal right to resell your ticket. In the era of physical tickets you could usually sell a ticket for what you paid for it even in the states that had anti-scalping laws. However, taking a cue from airlines who have effectively prevented the resale of plane tickets, venue ticket sellers now require identity papers with admission via paperless ticket, which pretty effectively prevents even legal transfers of the ticket.
This is a pretty standard story in the Copyright Wars - attempts to prevent illegal activity lead to restrictions on legal activity and the consumers end up screwed.
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