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New England Patriots Obtain Online Ticket Reseller Names

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the nice-way-to-treat-your-fans dept.

Privacy 233

Billosaur writes "The New England Patriots sued on-line ticket re-seller StubHub (a subsidiary of eBay) to obtain the list of names of people who tried to buy or sell Patriots tickets using the service. StubHub lost an appeal in Massachusetts state court last week, and was compelled to hand over the list of 13,000 names. It is currently not clear what the Patriots organization intends to do with the names, but they have intimated that they may revoke the privileges of any season ticket holders on the list. The Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group, said the court order to turn over the names infringes on the privacy rights of Patriots fans. At issue is whether using the on-line service allows an end-run around team rules and Massachusetts state law, by allowing ticket holders to charge extreme mark-ups on their tickets." How does this ruling apply to other pieces of transient property?

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233 comments

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To be fair... (2, Interesting)

SRA8 (859587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052881)

in a fair society, venues would be able to set prices at market prices, thus eliminating the need for entities such as stub-hub. However, setting prices at market would likely cause an uproar, so why should anyone have sympathy for organizations/individuals trying to profit from charity to society?

Re:To be fair... (2, Insightful)

wizbit (122290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052987)

Bingo. I'm an occasional user of StubHub when I need to grab a few extra tickets last-minute, but the gouging that goes on (think Hanna Montana) for highly desirable and rare events just turns the whole model on its head. This kind of exclusivity in the NFL is generally limited to the playoffs, but if you have a perennial champion like the Pats, or just a huge market like NYC, "average" fans get the shaft during the regular season as well.

Re:To be fair... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053147)

Is there a system where you need to provide ID that you bought the tickets?

Something like;
Paul Johnsmith buys 5 tickets, states he's the leader so all 5 of the tickets have "Johnsmith group".
At entry presenting "Johnsmith Group" tickets, the father, Paul Johnsmith proves he's the group leader and they let him in.

Paul buys 5 tickets, states he's the only person so the ticket has "Paul".
At entry presenting "Paul" ticket, the father, Paul proves he's the owner.

Then the ticket sellers could introduce a new service to charge a fee to change the details of the ticket to something else if the ticket details wasn't a fault of the company.

The only problem I see is under 18s not being able to get in, this could be solved if they were accompanied by an adult friend who bought the tickets.

Re:To be fair... (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21054123)

Have you ever been to any kind of sporting event with tickets? Clearly not. Your idea is completely unworkable. Many tickets are sold by people with extras right at the event. People in groups may also not all go in at the same time.

The fact is that it's PERFECTLY FINE to give your tickets to someone else, or to sell them. You just can't sell them for more than face value plus 2 dollars or whatever.

Re:To be fair... (3, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053179)

so why should anyone have sympathy for organizations/individuals trying to profit from charity to society?

Charity? I don't think sports teams are being "charitable" per-se for selling tickets at under market rate.. they do it to enforce their brand and keep up the excitement in customers who can't get tickets due to overdemand and who will then try to fight for them next time.

They should just sell the damn things for market rate. I don't see beachside condos or Mercedes Benz cars being sold at under market simply to keep the proles happy.

Re:To be fair... (5, Insightful)

wizbit (122290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053237)

And I don't see any car dealerships selling Maybach jerseys. There's a bigger market than just tickets, and it's overwhelmingly driven by the middle class. Make it impossible for blue collar fans to attend a game and you drive down merchandising opportunities elsewhere. The NFL already has what's mostly become an exclusively white collar event - it's called the Super Bowl.

Re:To be fair... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053555)

And I don't see any car dealerships selling Maybach jerseys

Hmm, how many 14 year old boys (or even 30 year old men!) have Porsche or Ferrari posters on their walls, their screensavers, etc? How many of them will ever buy one?

I almost started going off about how the NFL has been way beyond "blue collar fans" for decades (I guarantee 95% of the hardcore football fans glued to their TVs on Sunday have not attended an NFL game in years, if ever). And about how there are no more tickets available for them if they wanted to go (many franchises have season ticket waiting lists of 10+ years... actually, from my experience Chicago Bears season tickets are practically at the "inherited" stage). But then I realized - go to a pregame tailgate and you'll find a lot of those "blue collar fans" (well, ok, at least "non-rich" fans) with said season tickets who would not be able to keep them if they were $300+ a game...

Re:To be fair... (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053879)

Football clubs don't set their tickets at market prices because they need to protect their long term interests and markets. Current top teams could raise their prices and still sell out making short term gains, but those guy would be gone quicky enough when the success stops coming. Short term fans also don't buy the shirts and the merchandise.

Clubs need to protect their real supporters, who are there for life, whose kids will support them and will be there through thick and thin. These people can't necessarlily afford market prices for the games, so the club needs to find another way to make sure they get tickets.

As an aside I believe in the UK it's now against criminal law to attempt to resell a ticket for a sports event.

Re:To be fair... (2, Insightful)

oldelpaso (851825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21054093)

Bingo. Steep price rises might sound like a good way to make money when every game is a sellout, but sports fans have long memories, and should the team's on-field performance fall on hard times those alienated would not return. Plus, ticket sales are only one part of revenue, merchandising and things like refreshments account for a significant proportion. I don't know if its the same in the US, but for the largest European football (soccer) clubs, gate money is a distant third behind TV and commercial revenue.

In common with your "clubs need to protect their real supporters" theme, it is important to distinguish between the regular fan who bought tickets but for one reason or another cannot go to the game, and the organised rackets and ripoff merchants. If the Pats go after regular fans they will certainly experience a backlash, but if they focus on racketeers their fanbase will most likely give their full backing.

Re:To be fair... (4, Informative)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21054129)

It's against the law in Mass. to resell a ticket for more than face value plus a small fee (which is like $2 or something...) That's why they were able to go after stubhub.

I would only want to hide my name if (5, Funny)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052883)

I would really only want to hide my name if I'd bought season tickets for the Dolphins.

Re:I would only want to hide my name if (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052959)

FUCK YOU!

Re:I would only want to hide my name if (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053173)

Don't yell too loud, or they just might get a win this season :(

Re:I would only want to hide my name if (3, Funny)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053945)

I couldn't help reply to someone who stands up for their team so adamantly yet so ANONYMOUSLY.

Re:I would only want to hide my name if (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053921)

Even though you think you are kidding, this really is the issue. Dolphins season ticket holders and Patriots season ticket holders both experienced similar risk when buying their tickets. I infer from your post that the Dolphins are not doing so well this year and so Dolphins ticket holders now hold less valuable tickets. But both teams use state law to fix their prices, which is terribly anti-American and contrary to the principles of free market. Season ticket holders should be able to enjoy *full value* of their tickets because it is *their property* that *they bought*. Season ticket holders should be able to enjoy this value either by attending more exciting games or financially. Such enjoyment should be the reward for the risk they took when buying the tickets. It is patently communist to use state law to lower one's risk as the Patriots are doing here. Such communist practices will actually raise the price of tickets because it removes free market principles Moreover, their use of the state to invade the privacy of the loyal customers who endured risk is reprehensible.

It's all about the markup... (3, Informative)

Cryophallion (1129715) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052889)

The issue is the fact that they are selling the tickets above the face value.

If I remember correctly, here in MA is is completely legal to resell tickets - just not for profit.

Our local sports teams have more than just a few insanely loyal fans who will do just about anything to see a game. People try to take advantage of this, which results in prices nearing mortage levels (and at 300k for a 2 bed home in the suburbs here, that it quite a bit of money).

I'm all for people being enterprising and making a little money - say 10% or at most 20% above face value. But anything over that is taking advantage of the fans, and preying on their obsessive love of the sports they love.

Re:It's all about the markup... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053047)

Law says you can sell at face value + 10% max (not sure if your trading expences like postage are included)

Re:It's all about the markup... (5, Insightful)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053243)

If I remember correctly, here in MA is is completely legal to resell tickets - just not for profit.
If that's true, then law enforcement should be getting the list of names, not an NFL team. Are the Patriots now a law enforcement agency? Also, why do they need the list of people buying tickets?

I think scalping sucks too, but you really can't fight the market and pretend there isn't scarcity.

Re:It's all about the markup... (1)

Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053751)

If that's true, then law enforcement should be getting the list of names, not an NFL team. Are the Patriots now a law enforcement agency? Also, why do they need the list of people *buying* tickets?
Bingo. Mod this man up.

Re:It's all about the markup... (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053951)

Have ticket prices been artificially pushed up due to team/venue owners pandering to corporate clients that can easily pay triple the price that a typical fan can afford and advertise their company "for free" and buy blocks of seats and boxes just to offer prime seats for visiting executives/clients or favoured friends?

Probably not.

Re:It's all about the markup... (1)

ShiNoKaze (1097629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053253)

Wait, if they're such obsessive fans, why is it they don't already have tickets? Are they forgetful/procrastinate? If so, then they need to pay more. Just like in every other aspect of life, why should this be any different?

Re:It's all about the markup... (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053483)

Maybe somebody who's a little more familiar with the ticket situation for NFL teams can chime in, but on the college level if you're trying to get tickets at a place that is routinely sold out it is not as simple as showing up at the ticket window several hours before kickoff. A lot of times season tickets are locked up for years by the same person and the only single-game tickets available are the ones that come back to the athletic department from season ticket holders who can't make it to a particular game. Those tickets are released about a week before the game, and if you don't get lucky with your speed dial or you didn't get in line on their website quick enough, you're SOL. At that point going to Ebay or Stub Hub or some other local outfit is the only way to get a ticket without taking your chances with a scalper 30 minutes before kickoff.

Re:It's all about the markup... (1)

ShiNoKaze (1097629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053541)

Even so, the "fanatics" should be well aware of all this and plan around it. Movie and console fans camp out weeks in advance. There's no way you're going to be able to convince me that ALL the tickets are like this. The "premium" tickets perhaps, but then this just goes back to supply and demand. Though I'm not a sports person, so I could be talkin out my ass. But it seems that with as many seats as those stadiums hold, there's got to be some that are first come first serve.

Re:It's all about the markup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053671)

Movie and console fans camp out weeks in advance.
That's different -- you will still be able to see the movie or buy the console next week or next year but to see a game live is a one time event.

Re:It's all about the markup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053319)

someone once told me things are only worth what people wiss pay for them. Conversely, if people will pay that much, they're worth that much. If you can buy low, sell high, what's wrong with that?

Re:It's all about the markup... (4, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053351)

The issue is the fact that they are selling the tickets above the face value.

Why in the fuck else would people create a marketplace for the buying and selling of tickets if not to make profit on it?

I'm all for people being enterprising and making a little money - say 10% or at most 20% above face value. But anything over that is taking advantage of the fans, and preying on their obsessive love of the sports they love.

The same can be said for coin or comic book dealers. Does it matter that Action Comics #1 originally cost $0.10? If some dork is willing to pay $250,000 for it now, there's nothing wrong with selling it at that price.

What teams make in endorsements, broadcast rights and merchandising is so substantial that they're already taking advantage of the fans by charging $50.00 or whatever per ticket.

It's pure economics, when there is great demand for a product that is in limited supply, prices will rise. There were jackasses who paid $2,500 for Playstation 3 consoles because that was the only way they could get them. Should Sony have been able to sue to prevent people from reselling things that they legitimately bought? Why is that any worse than selling tickets at higher prices? What would be wrong with having an auction? If two people want the same ticket and are willing to bid against each other to buy them, why should the owner of the ticket be kept from allowing them to do so?

LK

Re:It's all about the markup... (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053981)

But with sports events, the true local fans are getting shut out of the event because big money is inflating the cost of going to the game. Once any team loses its local fanbase the game is over (so to speak).

Re:It's all about the markup... (2, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053391)

I'm all for people being enterprising and making a little money - say 10% or at most 20% above face value. But anything over that is taking advantage of the fans, and preying on their obsessive love of the sports they love.

That's right. But why stop there? Why shouldn't the government force, say, Apple to sell their products for no more than 10-20% markup - after all, anything more than that is taking advantage of Apple fanboys, and trendies who just have to have the latest chic tech. And excessive markup is a problem throughout the whole tech sector - in fact, why don't we just make the government responsible for setting the prices throughout the whole economy? Then, because human controls are so much better at maintaining a stable system than an open market, all the prices will be fair, for both the vendor and the consumer.

Wait, is this sounding familiar [wikipedia.org] to anybody?

The problem in this case is the "insanely loyal fans who will do just about anything to see a game". If some people are stupid enough to sell their house to see a game, then society and the government is not responsible for stopping them. That's the whole concept of freedom - you can do what you want, but when you do, you've got nobody to blame but yourself.

Re:It's all about the markup... (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053489)

I'm all for people being enterprising and making a little money - say 10% or at most 20% above face value. But anything over that is taking advantage of the fans, and preying on their obsessive love of the sports they love.

Sorry about the rant, but comments like this (and people who mod them up) drive me up the wall! Its amazing how many people simply don't this whole liberty business. Who exactly are you to decide how much profit someone else should make or not make? Should every business be restricted to making 10-20% profit or only the particular ones that you don't like? You know how much profit Starbucks makes on a cup of latte, or a perfume company on a tiny bottle of scented water that they sell for $75? What on earth is wrong with a person buying a ticket for $100 and then selling it for a $1,000, or a $1,000,000 if there is a buyer who wants the ticket and is willing to spend that much.

If you have a house, and the property prices happen to go through the roof, would you sell it at below market value because you'd feel bad about making a profit on it? If you are selling your 1984 Corolla and some billionaire, for whatever reason, decides to offer you $100,000 for it would you refuse because thats too much profit for you? Well maybe you would, but that doesn't make it any less wrong to force other people to do it.

If a team wants to attach whatever conditions they want to the sale of the ticket (such as resale not allowed) that is their business, but the state making the resale for profit illegal is simply ridiculous. Have they ever heard of retail in MA?

$300K?! You should be so lucky!! (4, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053713)

$300,000 for a 2-bedroom home, you should be so lucky...

When I was young we had to pay $650,000 for 3 walls and a tarp for a roof, and we didn't even have a pro football team...

Oh wait...that's not when I was young. That's right now. Fucking Orange County.

Re:$300K?! You should be so lucky!! (5, Funny)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053983)

we had to pay $650,000 for 3 walls and a tarp for a roof, and we didn't even have a pro football team...

Oh wait...that's not when I was young. That's right now. Fucking Orange County.

Perhaps you should chose a different colour county.

Or is the county named after a copulating fruit?

Re:It's all about the markup... (1)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21054049)

But if I bought those tickets in, say, New York (because Ticketmaster doesn't limit sales to MA residents), I can sell them for, legally, "whateverthefuckIwant".

The Patriots are assuming that "their laws" apply everywhere, which certainly isn't the case at all.

solution? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21054157)

Registered fans could buy non-resellable ticket.

What, did they forget to barcode their tickets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052923)

Regardless, a ticket is a ticket -- ONE butt in ONE seat. What difference does it make who's butt it is, or how much the human paid for the seat? Why is ONE person any more or less entitled to any given ticket on any given Sunday than somebody else? I don't get it.

Ironic? (5, Funny)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052939)

Isn't it ironic that the team allegedly invading privacy is called the Patriots?

Re:Ironic? (5, Funny)

shoemilk (1008173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052953)

Not after the PARTIOT Act...

Re:Ironic? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053427)

Was that enacted after the LYSDEXIC Act?

Re:Ironic? (1)

rebootconrad (836537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053467)

I hope that got modded funny because of the irony of an english nazi sig right under a glaring spelling error, rather than the [quite obvious] fact pointed out therein.

What privacy? (1)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053225)

Isn't it ironic that the team allegedly invading privacy is called the Patriots?

What privacy? These people gave their info to an online retailer, of course it is going to be shared with 3rd parties. The only thing different in this case is that the retailer is not getting paid to share the info.

Re:Ironic? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053399)

Nope, not at all. Then again, I remember that they are, after all, the team that was caught spying on other teams [go.com] . (Apparently the penalty for cheating in major league sports is to pay a fine and nothing else. You'd think they'd get kicked out of the league, but apparently not.)

I guess they thought the warrantless wiretapping privileges granted via the USA PATRIOT Act applied to them as the Patriots...

Re:Ironic? (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21054071)

You're looking at it all wrong. This is total consistency.

The original 18th century New England Patriots were considered criminals. They broke all sorts of laws, including tax evasion and treason!
The PATRIOT act continued that trend. And now there's NFL Camera cheating and privacy invasion.

That's not irony.

Irony is the condition my Tom Brady jersey is in - it was wrinkly after last week's game, though.

Read it and weep (3, Informative)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052945)

the court order to turn over the names infringes on the privacy rights of Patriots fans

Too effing bad. Every sports related season ticket by any team in any sport always has rules attached. And if one of those rules is season ticket holders can't resell their tickets, then the franchise has every right to find out who is reselling and cut them off. If you don't like their rules, then don't buy their tickets. That's your only option.

It's not quite that simple (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053053)

While I agree with you in principle, there's more to it than that.

The venue has every right to revoke these tickets. However, what's at issue is whether or not StubHub has any obligation to tell the venue which tickets are being sold. If they're not based in Massachusetts, the fact that what they're doing violates Massachusetts law is entirely irrelevant. Unless there's a federal law (or state law in the state they do operate in), they have every right to tell the venue to figure it out on their own.

If a state banned football (or whatever sport it is that the Patriots play), should that require them to snitch on residents of that state?

Re:It's not quite that simple (2, Informative)

tm2b (42473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053151)

Uh, no. You're subject to the laws of a state if you do business in it - it should take little thought to see why this is necessary.

The question isn't whether they're based in Massachusetts, it's whether they're doing business in Massachusetts. And they are.

How so? (2, Insightful)

Rix (54095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053559)

Are their offices in Massachusetts? Do they have any presence in Massachusetts?

If China bans baseball, should patriots.com be required to hand over a list of Chinese IPs which visited the site?

Re:How so? (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21054201)

They are selling to people in MA for events in MA. CLEARLY they are doing business in MA - it doesn't matter where their offices are.

Re:Read it and weep (0)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053061)

No, dude, scalping is exactly like stealing music or pirating movies: it's a victimless crime!

Plus it's only illegal if you get caught.

Funny maybe, Insightful? No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053155)

Plus it's only illegal if you get caught.
Yeah never but this on your Bar Exam!
"Well, he didn't get caught so it isn't murder." No, it is always murder regardless of whether or not you get caught.
Crime is ALWAYS illegal!
You just don't get penalized unless you get caught.

Kind of like potential and kinetic energy. It is still energy. (Of course it has been 20+ years since college physics so the analogy may be off a bit)

Re:Read it and weep (2, Insightful)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053263)

It's not even slightly like pirating music or movies.

Tickets are by definition a scarce resource. There are a finite number of tickets for a finite number of seats, and once the tickets are all sold, that's it: there are no more tickets. Contrast that with pirating music which does not remove a copy of music from distribution.

I'm going to skip any moral argument, but suffice it to say that it's not a "victimless crime" as it really does remove items that would otherwise be available to "legitimate" purchasers.

Re:Read it and weep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053321)

So what you're saying is that by purchasing tickets and then selling them to someone else, I'm commiting a crime that harms someone.

Who?

Am I harming the person buying the tickets? No, he wouldn't have gotten the ticket otherwise.
Am I harming the team selling the tickets? No, they already sold the ticket.

People in free countries have the right to resell items that they legally purchased. Once I purchase an item, the original seller has no right to dictate what I can and can't do with it. If I decide to purchase the ticket and rip it up, they'd have no problem with that. Why do they care that I decided to sell it to someone else?

The answer is simple: they want "their" cut of the profit.

So fuck you for saying reselling a ticket is harming someone. It isn't. The ticket vendor already sold their ticket at what they considered a fair price. What I do with it after that sale is not their business.

Re:Read it and weep (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053785)

Tickets are by definition a scarce resource
So why then, is the trade of them barred? By getting tickets from those who value them less to those who value them more, you're increasing wealth in society. Which participant is the victim here? The team that could have charged more for tickets, the person who wishes to sell their tickets, or the person who wishes to buy tickets?

Re:Read it and weep (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053563)

The music/movie analogy is both wrong and off-topic.

Ticket scalping is against Patriots rules, and additionally against Mass state law. While scalping law is popular with voters, the state is choosing not to enforce the law at least for online activity. Even out of state scalpers could be reeled in, or at least banned from future sales.

And that is what this is about. The Patriots want to protect the fans, and they want to promote the sport by making it affordable to attend. It is patently obvious the Patriots could charge more for tickets, but they don't in part because there will be down years when the Pats suck, and having a loyal fan base helps the sport. In New England, we're particularly vulnerable to scalping because everyone is so traditional and there will NEVER be a second NFL team or MLB team. The problem of scarcity does not need artificial inflation.

It's sad that STATE is obviously not enforcing the law at all. The scalpers should not just be arrested, but put in a stockade on display to the fans waiting in line for tickets.

Re:Read it and weep (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053383)

Every sports related season ticket by any team in any sport always has rules attached.

What if one of the rules was "You may not sell, give or in any other way transfer possession of this ticket to someone of Asian descent." Would that be enforceable? Would they be able to have a judge issue an order to determine who is giving away tickets to Chinese businessmen?

And if one of those rules is season ticket holders can't resell their tickets, then the franchise has every right to find out who is reselling and cut them off.

What right do they have to compell a private entity to turn over private records? They have the right to cut off people who they discover to be breaking the terms of their sale, but they have no right to compell others to help them do so.

LK

Re:Read it and weep (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053753)

Those are some nice straw man arguments. There isn't a rule against selling tickets to Asians, there is a law against large markups on ticket re-sales and a contract with ticket holders to re-sell tickets with approved brokers. StubHub had a choice to claim that either they were violating the law by re-selling tickets well above the printed price or that their users were violating the law by selling the tickets above the marked price. (Unlike copyright, this law refers to a limited commodity... this is more like insider stock trading than online music trading.)

The real problem is that StubHub really was encouraging people to break the law (and ticket agreement), they should be capping the re-sell ticket price to the printed price plus the legally allowed markup. They're a business devoted to ticket resale, they should know and follow the rules. It would be harder for the Patriots to get StubHub to turn over the names of people who have simply violated a private contract. It's obviously easy for the Patriots to get StubHub to turn over the names of people who are accomplices to a crime.

State Specific (1)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052949)

This is an interesting case, but scalping laws vary by state, so it should pretty much only apply to MA. In Cali, it's only illegal to resale if you do it on event premises (CA Penal Code 346) without permission. It may be less stringent than that (I seem to recall it needing to be on the day of the event for over face value to qualify, but I'm not sure and IANAL). Personally I hate professional scalpers, but at the same time I don't have a problem with some fan selling their seat (even for above face) if they can't make it. I've used stubhub to purchase tickets to Giants games in the past, and probably will again in the future. You'd have to be naïve to believe that the Patriots are doing this for anyone's best interest but their own, and I do believe they're merely trying to corner the market for their tickets (must be taking notes from their business partner, ticketmon^H^Haster).

Re:State Specific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052991)

Could this be a precursor to auctions for tickets? In a market that is perpetually sold out the seller realizes they can make a much greater profit by imitating scalpers. The idea that a team is partially owned by the public and is a trust has helped keep ticket prices at reasonable levels, however, a team can earn much more income if they have access to the secondary market. Many teams have season ticket lists that are extensive. This is not a rational capitalistic market. I worry that this is the Patriots starting to set a different pricing scheme that is more effective for themself and inhibits those of us (me!) who do not earn the big bucks from attending games.

Re:State Specific (1)

wizbit (122290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053011)

The Pats are specifically requiring fans to buy extra tickets through their ticket site, which goes out through TicketMaster, and enforces the face value of the ticket. I think that's as rational as the Pats could've been about the situation, don't you agree? If you're a Pats season ticket holder, do you really mean to tell me that you don't know a bunch of friends who'd gladly take the tickets off your hands without going through an online auction site?

Re:State Specific (1)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053079)

Yes, I agree what they're doing NOW (a point in time which they don't have a monopoly on the market) is great, however the Patriots, like every other NFL team (and for-profit business for that matter) are in the business to make a profit. There's no guarantee they'll continue this practice in the future (especially when they have no competition).

Re:State Specific (1)

realperseus (594176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053031)

>and I do believe they're merely trying to corner the market for their tickets

Hogwash. They are merely attempting to place tickets into the hands of the "true fans", fans like the father that wants to take his son to a game without skipping the next mortgage/rent payment or that have been on their season ticket waiting list for 10 to 20+ years. Perhaps the Patroits have noticed low turnover (rate at which season ticket holders gave up their seats) for season tickets as of late (read since Stubhub came online) and want to find out which family member is selling their deceased fathers/uncles season tickets for a profit instead of giving up those seats as they should. Fin.

Re:State Specific (1)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053121)

At best case I'd hope they're only doing this to identify the ticket holders who buy tickets solely to scalp them for a profit. While they're playing nice now limiting the resale site to face value, we have no reason to expect them to always behave that way. I'm from California, and I have no clue what the current owner of the Patriots, Robert Kraft, is like. What I do know is one day he will not be the owner, and there's definitely no way of knowing how the next person (or group) will be, and I'd rather not have them be the only way to get tickets.

On a side note, I've actually never paid above face using stubhub (although it's usually close to it after their service fee). For example, after Barry Bonds hit the #756, Giants ticket values plummeted and I got a ton of great deals between there and craigslist from people dumping.

tickets sold for up to 10x what they are worth (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052965)

FTFA

Team rules bar reselling game tickets for a profit. State law, though rarely enforced, restricts ticket markups to $2 above face value plus some service charges. Patriots tickets have been offered on StubHub at prices many times higher, including two 50-yard-line seats for New England's Dec. 16 game against the AFC rival New York Jets listed Thursday for $1,300.05 each. Their face value is $125.

StubHub, one of the largest online ticket sellers, argued that the Patriots' request violated its confidentiality agreement with its customers and said the team wants to create a monopoly on the resale market for its own tickets.
under state law tickets can be resold just at a very low profit though "the team rules" forbid any resale. that is anti-competitive though hording tickets and selling them at 10x what they are worth isn't any better. don't feel sorry for either side, neither is correct- both are screwing people over.

Re:tickets sold for up to 10x what they are worth (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053397)

under state law tickets can be resold just at a very low profit though "the team rules" forbid any resale.

Is StubHub located in MA? I don't know. If it's not, why would any state law apply?

that is anti-competitive though hording tickets and selling them at 10x what they are worth isn't any better. don't feel sorry for either side, neither is correct- both are screwing people over.

"anti-competitive" means something other than what you think it means. StubHub fosters competition. Everyone who has a ticket that they don't want has the ability to compete. If I think I can sell more of my tickets by pricing them 20% lower than yours, that's competition.

LK

mod 0P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052973)

to survive 4t all

season tickets (1)

niloroth (462586) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052985)

well, as far as the whole season ticket issue goes, i wonder if part of getting the tickets is that you sign a contract with the team about what you can and can not do with those tickets. And if one of the things you can not do is resell them for a profit over the legal state limit, there might be some very worried season ticket holders out there right now. As a contrast to this, the philadelphia phillies use stubhub as their official 'reseller' and even sent out links to stubhub's website in some of their post season emails. This could be an interesting one to watch.

We need to do like we did for the airlines (5, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052999)

We need the Department of Gameland Security. If you want a ticket, you must ask permission 72 hours in advance. Upon entering the stadium, you must show your passport or a government approved ID. Under the state's secrets act, you are prohibited from discussing the events. Woe to you who cheers for the wrong team. You will be placed on the "no seat list". See, this is why the airlines really want ID...to prevent you from selling your ticket. Don't be surprised to see it here also "for your protection".

Re:We need to do like we did for the airlines (1)

awehttam (779031) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053729)

Be careful what you wish for.

Missing the Scary part!!! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053041)

You are all missing the most important point though. It is not that the Patriots have a right to find out which season ticket holder's are reselling their tickets. The big problem here is that instead of producing a list of season ticket holders and forcing Stubhub to only reveal information on these people, stubhub had to turn over ALL customer names to the patriots. I am not a season ticket holder. I am not a patriot ticket holder. Yet now they have my name and a list of tickets I may have bought or sold LEGALLY.
This should scare you!!!

Sorry. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053163)

I guess I'm less optimistic than you. I just assume anytime I give my information to any entity they will sell, or give it to someone else. Which is why, I don't do it very often ... with my own name.

Re:Missing the Scary part!!! (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053425)

I'm not seeing that as scary.
It's not like the New England Patriots are prone to spying.

oh, wait.

Re:Missing the Scary part!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053927)

Having purchased concert/festival tickets and resold them at a hefty profit, I don't see much wrong with stubhub etc. My problem comes when the teams are subsidized by tax dollars (don't tell me they aren't, stadiums etc.) and they start whining. As an anarchocapitalist, i say let the market determine everything. However, as opposed to other events, professional sports teams receive government money to host their events. As far as I'm concerned, the minute they stop asking for tax breaks and zoning law changes and grants for the stadium they can work to get the laws changed. They're asking the hand that feeds to give them more money, which is absolutely greedy and ridiculous.

On the other hand, as I'm not a football fan, everyone that goes to see the patriots is silly, because you can watch it on television/youtube :)

It's the fault of the consumer (0, Troll)

DaScribbler (701492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053077)

Seriously...

If there weren't consumers on the street willing to pay these prices, it wouldn't happen.

Bash me for being a republican, I really don't care... however... being a republican I believe in less government involvement... I take responsibility in my own actions rather than waiting for government to step in. If Brokers are capitalizing on consumers paying stupid money to get tickets... well it's the fault of the consumers who are dumb enough to pay those prices.

Will I pay $2k to a broker so my daughter and niece can go see Hanna Montana? Hell No!

Will I trade in crazy cash or capital investments to see my Rockies in the World Series? (yes I am from Colorado) Hell no!

Wanna cry to the government because somebody is charging too much? Quit Crying! Just don't pay it.

Do your children hate you because you won't cater to the needs dictated by Jessica, Britney, Paris, Lyndsey, etc etc etc...? They'll get over it.

Same applies to all of us (including me) sports fanatics. I would sacrifice a substantial amount to go see World Series game when one of my teams are in contention. However I won't do it in favor of feeding somebody else's greed.

Re:It's the fault of the consumer (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053095)

There may be consumers willing to pay these prices, but I wager there's more consumers pissed off BY these prices that are actively complaining to the team.

Add to the fact that the *team* isn't seeing any of this 10x markup, and hell yes they're going to involve themselves, regardless. 'Regulation' be damned, they want their cut of that 10x marked up ticket.

Re:It's the fault of the consumer (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053843)

If they merely want to get "their cut of that 10x marked up ticket", then why not auction to the highest bidder or simply price the tickets closer to market value?

Re:It's the fault of the consumer (1)

thatshortkid (808634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053229)

ahem.... MARTYR. you could have made your argument without the "i know i'm going to get modded down for being a republican, but...." crap.

this is about the pats, already a multi-billion-dollar generating business, wanting a cut of the gray market surrounding their product. there's no consumer advocacy going on here. it's corporate advocacy. in no place are there arguments for the people getting gouged. the argument is that the pats want a cut of the gouge.

ass.

I guess you believe in the "Free Market" (1)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053293)

Sounds good in theory, (like communism) but just doesn't work in reality.
The rich and privileged get to go to any game at a whim. (and get the best seats)
Others have to sell their car to see their favorite team.
as for:

being a republican I believe in less government involvement... I take responsibility in my own actions rather than waiting for government to step in.
That's a pretty simple philosophy. How do sweatshops fit into it?
I wish people with simple-minded unrealistic ideas would stop voting for liars and thieves.

Re:I guess you believe in the "Free Market" (0, Flamebait)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053433)

The rich and privileged get to go to any game at a whim. (and get the best seats)
Others have to sell their car to see their favorite team.


Life isn't fair. Rich guys get to fuck supermodels and princesses. Do you think Diana Spencer would have been with Dodi Al-Fayed if he had been Dodi the Egyptian taylor? I don't. Rich people pay LOWER interest rates on loans. Yes, the people most able to afford it actually pay LESS interest than those least able to. Rich people pay a lower percentage of their income to Social Security.

If you're looking for a cause, how about that?

Who gives a fuck if some beerbelly doesn't make enough money driving a forklift to pay $2k for football tickets?

LK

Re:I guess you believe in the "Free Market" (1)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053585)

Who gives a fuck if some beerbelly doesn't make enough money driving a forklift to pay $2k for football tickets?
Apparently the team does. (doh)

Life isn't fair.
I guess life just got a tiny bit fairer.

Rich guys get to fuck supermodels and princesses. Do you think Diana Spencer would have been with Dodi Al-Fayed if he had been Dodi the Egyptian taylor? I don't. Rich people pay LOWER interest rates on loans. Yes, the people most able to afford it actually pay LESS interest than those least able to. Rich people pay a lower percentage of their income to Social Security. If you're looking for a cause, how about that?
Because obviously, you're much more passionate about than I am.

Re:I guess you believe in the "Free Market" (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053445)

So your solution is for government to seize control of the goods and dictate market terms? I see more parallels to communism in your post than the parents. Maybe you should complain that only the rich and privileged get to drive a Porsche, and that the fact most people drive an old Holden is a terrible injustice that needs government intervention to set it right.

Re:I guess you believe in the "Free Market" (1)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053649)

So your solution is for government to seize control of the goods and dictate market terms?
Wow, that's quite a jump. How did get that from my post?

Maybe you should complain that only the rich and privileged get to drive a Porsche, and that the fact most people drive an old Holden is a terrible injustice that needs government intervention to set it right.
The guy with the Porsche should be paying more tax. If you call that "government intervention", then I guess most people want it.
Not you?

Re:It's the fault of the consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053407)

Yeah you also believe AT&T should be given retroactive immunity for all the illegal shit they've been doing since 2001 in the name of the 'The war against terror'

Interesting counterpoint (2, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053093)

This story is an interesting counterpoint to the news that Major League Baseball has agreed [usatoday.com] to endorse StubHub as their official ticket reseller.

Personally, I'm torn on this issue. Basically, as a person on a fairly standard middle class income, it sucks that I'll likely never be able to attend major sporting events because scalpers quickly scoop up all of the tickets and price them out of range of the normal fan. On the other hand, if teams insist on building stadiums that don't hold the number of fans that would actually be willing to go to the games (for example, Invesco Field in Denver was built to almost exactly the same capacity as the old Mile High Stadium, even though waiting lists for season tickets there are decades long), it might make sense to let the free market determine the price of seats.

Personally, I think that scalping should be illegal, as scalpers essentially make their money by employing dirty tricks to corner the market on tickets, thereby possibly artificially inflating the cost of tickets. I understand the free market argument, but I think measures should be taken so we can be sure that fans at a game represent a true cross section of the fan base for the team, not just the ones that can afford $500 or more for tickets.

Re:Interesting counterpoint (2, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053457)

I'll likely never be able to attend major sporting events because scalpers quickly scoop up all of the tickets and price them out of range of the normal fan.

What's stopping you from going to the place that the scalpers go and getting a ticket for yourself?

LK

Re:Interesting counterpoint (1, Insightful)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053779)

Do you really need that explained to you?

The scalpers don't, fans do (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 6 years ago | (#21054155)

", thereby possibly artificially inflating the cost of tickets."

If people are willing to pay $10,000 for a ticket, then by definition, that's the value of the ticket. That's not an artificial inflated value, that's the actual value.

It doesn't seem immoral, I don't see that it should be illegal.

If a ticket scalper scooped up every patriot ticket and was selling them for $10,000 per ticket and they sold them all, god bless them for being clever entrepreneurs. If they scooped up every ticket and couldn't sell them, well, the team got their money and the scalper got...um... scalped.

I'm mainly disturbed that courts and lawyers don't say to these large corporations "We realize you try to get people to sign crazy documents giving away their rights, but we don't accept any of them. Case dismissed".

If the patriots are angry about this, then what they ought to do is charge more for their tickets. This is a professional sporting event, not a government function where they need to maintain the fiction of fairness.

Ridiculous (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053127)

"Scalping" should be legal. I bought a ticket, I should be able to do as I wish with it. Neither the government nor the venue should be able to stop me.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

thatshortkid (808634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053367)

"being a douche" should be legal. i am a douche, i should be able to commit as much douchery as i wish. neither the government nor the bag should be able to stop me.

Good (1)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053129)

Less privileges for the rich. One less thing money can buy.

GO CHARGERS! (2, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053141)

GO CHARGERS!

*ducks*

Re:GO CHARGERS! (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053359)

Dude, this is Slashdot. What are you ducking for?

Oh, Chargers, I see. Your ducking to avoid the hail of used batteries from you hated rivals, the Disposables! Carry on then...

Revoke the privileges? (1)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053149)

I kind of imagined that buying a season ticket entitled the buyer to something more than a privilege to attend games. I suppose they could give a prorated refund for unused tickets, but I doubt they would get very far "revoking" the ticket. I guess it's not a bad as "Hannah Montana" tickets, that the promoters seem to scalping themselves.

But it was Web 2.0 ticket scalping! (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053331)

Wait, you mean it's still a crime when it's Web 2.0.

No 2.0 way!!!

This was a bad call (1)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053333)

The people who tried (but didn't succeed) to buy tickets have undoubtedly had their privacy violated. Those names should have been excluded, since they've not completed any transactions with the team. I don't see what business the Patriots have with their names.

nice way to treat your fans (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053345)

nice. people who buy season tickets are their bread and butter.

What is up with them? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053357)

Do they not believe in freedom of exchange of goods? Pure capatalist economics. Supply and demand.

Oh wait, this is Soviet America wher capitalism only is good if you are a big company.

Next you will see that Microsoft demands the name andress and phonenumber from each person who has ever downloaded a Linux distribution.

Also how much of a fight have they put up? "Give us the names." "Only if we have an order" "Here it is." is something different then "Give us the names" "You can have those names if you pry them from my dead cold fingers. We rather do jailtime or die befre we give them to you."

Somehow I believe that it is more the first then the second. Otherwise we would have heard about it when the trial was going on and on and on.

Mixed Feelings (2, Interesting)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053461)

I'm not 100% sure where I stand on issues like this.

A part of me gets sick when I go on eBay and find tickets for a concert or sporting event that is up for sale by a "professional" scalper. Especially annoying are when these tickets were obtained from a fan club membership, or sold out within minutes only to appear right on eBay. It makes it more expensive for a real fan to get decent seats.

Then the other part of me is a capitalist pig and says there's nothing wrong with that.

As for selling these season tickets... I don't see what the big deal is. People have done that for years, only now it's easier. They've also bought season tickets for the purpose of giving to clients (or prospects).

No First Sale doctrine? (3, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053463)

The fact is that the scalpers legally bought the tickets, so why may they not resell them? The only issue should be if they don't declare the income for tax purposes.

How the hell (0, Offtopic)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053695)

is that insightful??

Re:No First Sale doctrine? (1)

Kwirl (877607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21053909)

Yes, they legally bought the tickets. They also agreed to abide by the rules and conditions that went along with ownership of that ticket. I realize that most comments here are of the 'how dare anyone try to tell me to abide by rules or agreements' attitude, but that still does not mean that there are some of us who believe that our word and signature should have some value. When I agree to a commitment, then upholding my end of that agreement should be a given.

When the season ticket was purchased, the buyer agreed that the ticket purchased was for their own personal use, or that barring that, they would not attempt to resell that ticket at an unreasonable markup. Many of my friends are die-hard american football fans, but most of us have never been able to afford to actually go to a game. When a $125 dollar ticket is being illegally resold for thousands of dollars, it means that we lose the chance to go enjoy the support that thrives on our passionate allegiance.

I don't have a problem with the guy standing in line for the tickets buying 6 tickets when he only needs 4 and turning around to sell the other 2. My real problem is these companies that have automated the process of going online to purchase all of the valuable or reasonable tickets as soon as they are available. It's just ... well, it sucks.

plus, 3, Troll) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053709)

a conscious stand luck I'll find for successful goals I person4lly wall: *BSD facEs a BSD managed to make God, let's fucking

Spelling Nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21053735)

Intimated? What does this mean?
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