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Paperless ticket-selling poses barrier to free market

YOUR OCT. 5 editorial ‘‘Ticket reselling: Scratching the scalp,’’ on the proposed bill to repeal the state’s ticketing law, made one key point with which I completely agree: ‘‘Let the marketplace settle this debate.’’ Unfortunately, restrictive paperless ticketing would prevent the marketplace from working.

Right now, Massachusetts consumers who cannot use tickets can share them with friends, relatives, co-workers, or employees, or sell them. But companies such as Ticketmaster and teams and venues around the country have begun to adopt paperless ticketing technology that could severely infringe on this flexibility; in fact, it would fundamentally tip the market against consumers.


Restrictive paperless tickets are tied to a purchaser’s credit card and photo ID, so they cannot be easily shared or resold. If ticket issuers allow consumers to resell paperless tickets, they often limit them to resale websites controlled by the ticket issuers themselves.

Paperless ticketing would not eliminate ticket resale. It would simply allow Ticketmaster and others to extend their monopoly to the one part of the event industry they don’t already dominate. The bill to repeal the antiscalping law in Massachusetts should ensure that consumers who buy paperless tickets can do so without limitations.


Vice president

National Consumers League Washington

The writer is a member of the board of the Fan Freedom Project.