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German court puts significant restrictions on ticket resale site Ticketbande

By | Published on Thursday 31 January 2019

Live Music

German promoters association BDKV has welcomed a ruling in the country’s courts that should restrict the resale of tickets on a secondary ticketing site called Ticketbande.

While in some countries law-makers and government agencies have been trying to better regulate the resale of tickets for profit online, in Germany all the action has been in the courts. Last November promoter MCT Agentur secured an injunction against Viagogo ordering it to stop listing tickets for upcoming Rammstein shows. A similar injunction then followed for planned Ed Sheeran dates in Germany.

For its part BDKV – a new organisation formed by the merger of two other event and concert industry trade bodies, BDV and VDKD – took aim at Ticketbande, another resale site which operates in various European markets. It sought an order from the regional court of Hanover restricting the resale of tickets on that site across the board.

To that end, earlier this month said court ruled that Ticketbande must not list tickets in one of two scenarios.

First, if a seller marks up a ticket by more than 25% face value and the terms of the original ticket specifically forbid such a thing. Secondly, when tickets have a box for the buyer’s name, providing there is a way for that named person to get their money back if they cannot attend a show.

Welcoming the ruling, Dr Johannes Ulbricht of law firm Michow & Ulbricht, who represents BDKV, said: “This verdict finally eliminates a crucial grey area in ticket sales [and brings event organisers] a great step further in the fight against the commercial secondary market ticketing trade”.

The court also rejected arguments presented by Ticketbande questioning the effectiveness of any attempts to regulate the resale of tickets online. Which is interesting because that is a common argument put forward by the big resale sites, to the effect that if you over-regulate the main players in secondary ticketing, touts will just switch over to other forums online where consumers will have even less protection.

There are now, of course, moves in various counties to restrict and regulate online ticket touting. These restrictions and regulations are being achieved in different ways in different countries. Some question the actual impact of these legal developments, though from education point of view it is making many more consumers aware of the difference between primary and secondary ticketing. And of the risk that touted tickets may be cancelled.

A new organisation called FEAT was recently launched, of course, seeking to coordinate anti-touting efforts across Europe. A spokesperson for that group welcomed the latest development in Germany and BDKV’s wider campaign against touting. Sam Shemtob told CMU: “This illustrates the traction that a variety of national movements, such as BDKV’s [anti-touting campaign] are getting across Europe, and shows that local judiciaries are not falling for spurious arguments in support of industrial level touting”.

UPDATE 31 Jan 2010, 16.10: Updated to clarify the scenarios in which the new restrictions apply – in particular that the enforcing of the ticket’s term and the 25% cap on resale are linked.