Depeche Mode Tour Back On Track

Depeche Mode restarted its Tour of the Universe in front of a 50,000-capacity, sold-out crowd at Leipzig Zentral Stadium in Germany June 8, after singer Dave Gahan recovered from surgery and promoter Marek Lieberberg won a court order to prevent online portal Ventic from reselling tickets.

The Munich District Court decision came in April, but Lieberberg’s office didn’t publicise its victory until a week ago. It may be seen as a landmark precedent for any promoter wanting to take similar action against other sites.

Contrary to some German media reports, the ruling doesn’t limit or ban the secondary market in Germany but reinforces the court’s determination to act upon a September 2008 Federal Court decision that says brokers who purchase tickets from authorized and official agencies while concealing their intent to resell are committing “fraudulent purchase.”

Lieberberg’s Frankfurt-based MLK Promotions, which is promoting Depeche Mode’s German shows, took online ticket portal Ventic and its parent broker company, SmartFox, to court for selling Depeche Mode tickets at inflated prices before the official onsale date.

SmartFox obtained the tickets directly from CTS Eventim, which co-owns Lieberberg’s company.

According to MLK terms and conditions, commercial resale of tickets for the Depeche Mode tour is prohibited.

The Munich District Court approved the injunction after finding proof that Smartfox had purchased or arranged to purchase Depeche Mode tickets from MLK while concealing their intention to resell.

“We knew what was happening because tickets were appearing on secondary sites within an hour of them going on sale,” said Matthias Atrott of Atrott & Böttcher, which represented MLK. “There were too many of them to have been bought in ones and twos by people who had subsequently decided they couldn’t go to the show.”

It’s not the first time Atrott has acted for MLK in one of Lieberberg’s high-profile battles with the touts. In April 2008 he sent a formal letter to stop Seatwave from selling tickets for Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festivals, after the head of the company accused Lieberberg of behaving like a Mafioso.