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    The BOSS ACT rewrites rules on ticket sales

    Monday, June 01, 2009
    Star-Ledger Staff

    As fans scramble today to purchase tickets to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's final stand at Giants Stadium, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-8th Dist.) will announce federal legislation intended to overhaul the concert ticket industry and improve fans' chances of scoring tickets to their favorite acts.

    The BOSS ACT (Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing) will require primary ticket sellers to disclose the number of tickets available for sale to the public and the number held back for fan clubs, presales and artist allocations, Pascrell told The Star-Ledger.

    The bill would also prohibit brokers from purchasing tickets during the first 48 hours of the primary sale. It also makes it illegal for any primary ticket seller, promoter, artist or their employees to resell tickets to events they are involved in at more than their face value.

    "The industry needs an overhaul. This is not going to be stopped on a state-by-state basis. This is a situation that needs national attention," said Pascrell. "Whether we're being hosed by the secondary or primary market is immaterial. We need transparency for both."

    The name of the bill is a nod to New Jersey's most famous rocker, who was at the center of a ticket storm in February. Springsteen blasted Ticketmaster after it redirected consumers to its subsidiary, TicketsNow.com, where seats were being sold for thousands of dollars over their face value.

    Pascrell called on the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. He then testified before Congress in February to object to the proposed merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the country's largest concert promoter and venue operator.

    Last week he applauded New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram when she filed lawsuits against five ticket resellers for selling tickets to the Sept. 30, Oct. 2 and 3 Giants Stadium concerts before the initial sale.

    The BOSS ACT, to be introduced in Congress tomorrow, requires the Federal Trade Commission to create new rules for the primary and secondary markets.

    The bill will force primary sellers to disclose at least seven days in advance of a sale the total capacity and the number of tickets being sold to the general public and the number sold through fan clubs, presales or held for promoters and artists. The primary ticket seller must disclose all ancillary charges and print them on the ticket. If a concert or event is canceled, the primary ticket seller must refund all charges, not just the base ticket cost.

    In the secondary market, the bill requires brokers to register with the federal government, disclose the original purchase price of the ticket and how they obtained the ticket. They also must disclose the exact location of the ticket and whether they possess the ticket at the time of the sale.

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