Enforce New York State Scalping Laws sign now

THE GREAT STATE of New York has the privilege of being home to a City that hosts some of the worlds premier entertainment events. Millions of consumers enter the Five Boroughs each year to laugh and cry on Broadway, to cheer as world-class athletic clubs compete, to hear musicians from all genres and traditions in venues great and small and to be entertained with their families and their friends. New York City can stake a claim to being the Entertainment Capital of the World. As the 1980s rock star Huey Lewis so eloquently put it, there is no other City in the world where one can enumerate half a million things to do, and all at a quarter to three.

HOWEVER, ALONG WITH the privilege of being the stage of choice for entertainers and athletes and the destination of choice for consumers of culture comes the responsibility of fairly regulating access to the tickets that admit spectators and fans to these events. The State of New York has accepted this responsibility: its legislature has passed the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, which governs the sale and resale of event tickets. The overarching conclusion of the law is that individuals and agencies are permitted to resell tickets for events in the State of New York at no more than $5 or 10\% more than face value, whichever is greater, irregardless of where the transaction takes place. The Office of New York State Attorney General issued a brave report in May of 1999 (http://www.oad.state.ny.us/press/reports/scalping/full_text.html) that explored the laws pitfalls and described the extensive corruption that exists in the ticket industry. The report notes that, The average disappointed consumer walks away with the suspicion that the tickets could not have all been sold, through the normal means, quite that fast. He or she often believes that someone, somewhere, had an in, and that dutifully waiting on line or telephoning repeatedly was, in reality, an exercise in futility. To a large extent, that frustrated consumer is correct. The report makes recommendations for updating the law and states unequivocally that it is the responsibility of the Office of New York State Attorney General to enforce these laws.

ON THE MORNING of September 20, 2002, the extent of these problems was made abundantly clear to many thousands of people across the nation. The rock band Phish offered tickets to a December 31, 2002, concert at Madison Square Garden. The demand for these tickets is astronomical, as the bands enormous fan base has in the past decade earned a reputation for being fiercely loyal. Tickets sold out in less than ten minutes. In an informal poll conducted by Jambase.com (http://www.jambase.com/features/pollmanager/xlaabsolute2.asp?p=11&view=viewpoll), less than 15\% of self-professed Phans who tried to purchase tickets were able to do so. However, the very next morning, there were no fewer than 54 pairs of tickets available from two ticket agencies websites that were easily found in a matter of minutes by searching for New York concert ticket agencies at the internet search site www.google.com. To compound matters, the tickets were priced between $877.50 and $2,365--as much as 47 times the legally permissible resale value. Tickets can be bought on auction for similar prices at www.ebay.com. While these figures represent only a small number of agencies, and only those that have an internet presence, they are more than representative of the situation at hand and there are doubtless brick-and-mortar agencies that are selling these tickets at such outrageous markups. While a very small number of fans succeeded in buying tickets that morning, it seems that the ticket agencies had significantly less difficulty. And while the average fan would profit from these tickets in the enjoyment that attending the concert would bring, the average ticket agency will profit from these tickets to tune of $2,300 per ticket.

WHEREAS New York State Law regulates the sale and resale of event tickets; and

WHEREAS it is clear that those individuals who desire to attend events are being denied the opportunity to do so at a reasonable rate that is in compliance with the law; and

WHEREAS the Office of New York State Attorney General is not only legally obliged to enforce these laws but has also publicly affirmed this responsibility and indicated its intention to do so to the full extent possible,

WE THE UNDERSIGNED urge the Office of New York State Attorney General and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to take immediate action against any individual, group, organization or agency that acts in violation of these laws.

WE ALSO URGE these officers to pressure the ticket industry to sell responsibly and to take measures that will minimize the sale of tickets to any individual, group, organization or agency that acts in violation of these laws.

NEW YORK STATE is in a unique position to set an example to the rest of the nation. The state serves the needs of all its residents and visitors by striving to ensure that entertainment is available at a resonable price to all those who wish to attend. We hope that it will seize this opportunity.

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Angel HannaBy:
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Office of New York State Attorney General

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