Digital Economy Bill - Committee (4th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 8th February 2017.

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Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrat 10:00 pm, 8th February 2017

I thank the noble Lord for that. I will not go into the detail—it has been very well described by the two noble Lords—but measures to criminalise the use of bots were implemented last year in New York, and have since been extended to many other states. Why should the US have better legislation that we do? At a minimum, we would like to see similar legislation implemented and enforced in the UK.

I should speak very briefly to Amendment 231, because it is in my name and that of the noble Lord, Lord Foster of Bath. This amendment would to give artists and event organisers greater control over who is authorised to resell their tickets. It would add to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 a provision requiring online secondary ticketing platforms to resell tickets only for events where they were the authorised resale agent. I realise, of course, that it needs further work—it probably does not quite deliver the purpose for which it was intended—but it does have very considerable support in principle, particularly, interestingly, from the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, both of which have written to express their support. It would place further control on the UK secondary ticketing market, putting the power back into the hands of the promoters of events to control their own ticketing by allowing resale only via authorised secondary ticketing websites, in a similar way to how an event organiser currently appoints a primary ticketing agent or agents. This amendment would allow them, if they chose to, to also appoint a secondary ticketing agent or agents to enable ticket resale. This is an important measure that, if we get the drafting right, could have a major impact.

All the measures contained in these amendments are what most sensible people would view as pragmatic steps that should help protect consumers without any real risk of unintended consequences. The only losers will be the touts. Why should audiences in the UK get anything less than the best protection? I hope that the Government will continue to move forward in this area and listen to the arguments being made. Quite apart from responding to the amendments, I very much hope that the Minister can give us some idea of when the Government will respond on Waterson—it is high time that we had a proper answer on those recommendations. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.