Lieberberg Orders Hit On Seatwave

Marek Lieberberg is trying to block Internet tout Seatwave from selling tickets for his Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festivals, after the head of the company accused him of behaving like the Mafia.

The secondary seller’s German chief, Veit Spiegelberg, accused the country’s biggest promoter of employing "mafiösenMethoden," after the MLK chief’s lawyers sent him a formal letter telling him to stop trading tickets for the twinned June 6-8 event.

"I’d say the formal letter is enough to stop the secondary marketers in about 80 percent of the cases, but this time it seems we have to go a little further," said Matthias Atrott of Frankfurt-based Atrott & Böttcher, as he waited to hear if the High Court had granted Lieberberg’s injunction against Seatwave.

On April 17, Seatwave released a statement saying, "We sincerely apologize for the statements contained in [the April 10 Rock Am Ring ticketing] press release. The release was not drafted, approved or authorized for distribution by Seatwave, and the statements do not reflect our position or those of Veit Spiegelberg. … We have good relationships with many promoters in Germany, and we value their partnerships."

Lieberberg’s legal action looks to have been an extra precaution. Although Spiegelberg said Lieberberg’s tactics mean fans would be stuck with tickets if they discover they are unable to go to the festival, he hasn’t said he’ll fight the matter in court.

He may prefer to stop selling the tickets, as it’s not clear how a court would interpret German law in regards to ticket touts, and both the promoters and the Web sites are reluctant to take on the cost of testing it all the way through the legal system.

Lieberberg has described Spiegelberg’s comments about Seatwave being a fan-to-fan site as "a tidal wave of nonsense," and says the company started the argument in order to benefit from the publicity.

The issue looks as if it’s about to get a lot of space in the German music industry trade press, with Folkert Koopmans of FKP Scorpio – another major German festival promoter – and Alex Richter of Four Artists agency expected to be the first to line up alongside Lieberberg.