TM Battles The Giant Bots

Ticketmaster recently filed a string of lawsuits against ticket brokers that may help explain why many shows sell out so quickly.

Ticketmaster’s fraud prevention team claims it has found brokers using automated bots to navigate the company’s systems. The bots – automated computer software – give brokers unfair access to tickets at a speed and volume far beyond human capacity.

In fact, a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles accuses four Massachusetts residents of using bots to buy 45,000 tickets for resale since 2003, according to court documents obtained by the Boston Globe.

But Joseph Provanzano, an attorney representing Cheryl, Thomas, Kelly and Ryan Prior, told the Globe Cheryl and Thomas are divorced, and neither Cheryl, nor their children Kelly or Ryan, have any knowledge of the ticket purchases.

Provanzano admitted that Thomas Prior may have used the software to make purchases, but told the paper Prior had paid for every ticket and had not harmed the company.

"He’s a guy in his home," Provanzano said. "When tickets go on sale, he hires people to come in and buy tickets."

Ace Ticket Service in Illinois and a group of resellers in Texas have been hit with similar suits. Ticketmaster has also taken action against Ohio company RMG Technologies, which apparently developed the bot software.

The RMG suit alleges that the company screened its customers to make sure they would not alert Ticketmaster to the system, the Globe reported.

"Ticketmaster is informed and believes that defendants have consulted with customers throughout the United States, including in California, to lend assistance in establishing or expanding the customers’ illegal ticket-buying activities," the suit said.

Ticketmaster claims nearly 117,000 tickets have been affected by the automated programs. The company is seeking injunctive relief against the defendants and damages.