Roboscalper

Ticket scalping is legal in California, I learned from an East Bay Express piece. When you think about it, why shouldn’t anyone be able to buy any item from a store and sell it on the open market at a higher price? And why should tickets be regarded differently from any other meatspace item in this regard?

But traditional scalpers are being trumped by digital scalpers, as computer software evolves with the ability to defeat human detection software. If software can crack a captcha image and buy tickets online on behalf of its master, a stadium can be sold out in minutes. That’s exactly what happened when U2 tickets went on sale recently and Ticketmaster servers were hammered with two million hits per second.

Trying to figure out why anyone would go to see U2 on purpose, let alone pay money to do so, is beside the point. The question is, is asking computers to go get a bunch of tickets for you qualitatively different from asking a bunch of friends to go stand in line hours before Ticketmaster’s doors open? It’s kind of like comparing MP3 trading to the old days of taping. The principle is the same, but the difference in quantity is so immense that you effectively have a qualitative difference.

Laws will change.

Music: Les Baxter :: Hong Kong Cable Car

One Reply to “Roboscalper”

  1. Here in Seattle scalping is legal so long as you don’t sell the ticket for more than the price on it.

    There are work arounds though, Ebay being the big one.

    As you said, laws will change.

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