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Congress passes anti-bot bill that makes it easier to buy concert tickets

Under the Bots Act of 2016, those who use software to hoover up tickets can be subject to enforcement action.
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If you've ever waited patiently by your computer to buy tickets to a concert or sporting event, only to see them sell out within minutes, Congress has passed a bill that could help in the future.

Making its way to President Obama's Oval Office desk is a bill that prohibits internet ticket brokers from using computer software, referred to as "bots," to circumvent ticket limits and hoover up as many available tickets as possible.

The bill, known as the BOTS Act of 2016, was passed on Wednesday by the U.S. House, having been passed by the Senate last month.

It basically means the use of bots by ticket brokers will be considered "unfair or deceptive acts" under the Federal Trade Commission Act, which is intended to level the playing field for consumers by ensuring "equitable consumer access to tickets."

It will give the FTC the power to investigate those using the software.

Billboard reports that Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller was among those who testified at a Senate hearing in September, who told senators that bots invade the show's Ticketmaster system the moment they go on sale and buy "almost all the available inventory."

The New York Attorney General cited an example of a single broker buying 1,012 within one minute to a U2 concert at Madison Square Garden despite there being a four-ticket limit, Billboard adds.

Other countries including the U.K. and Canada are considering similar measures against brokers, while the state of New York last month passed a bill that stipulated that those using bots to buy tickets wouldn't just face a fine, but possible jail time too, Pitchfork reports.

Earlier this year, Minnesota fans of the British songstress Adele were left disappointed when tickets to her shows at the Xcel Energy Center sold out within minutes, and appeared later at 10 times the price on re-sale site StubHub.

State governor Andrew Cuomo said: "These unscrupulous speculators and their underhanded tactics have manipulated the marketplace and often leave New Yorkers and visitors alike with little choice but to buy tickets on the secondary market at an exorbitant mark-up."

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