‘Clear Process For Removing Illegal Tickets’: EU’s Digital Services Act Comes Into Force

European Union flags at Berlaymont building
The EU Commission’s Digital Services Acts comes into force Feb. 17.

On Feb. 17, the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) will enter into force for all online platforms, with major implications for online ticket resale.

The new regulation, designed to create a safer digital environment, includes provisions lobbied for over two years by the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) on behalf of Europe’s live entertainment sector.

Back in March 2022, FEAT published an open letter calling for the EU to introduce tougher laws on online marketplaces. The letter was signed by 140 representative from the UK’s and Europe’s live performance sector, including agencies like One Fiinix Live, CAA, UTA, various promoters associations and musicians unions, festivals, managers, venues like The O2, and promoters, including FKP Scorpio, DEAG, and Doctor Music, to name but a few.

See: FC Barcelona Joins European Ticketing Campaign Group FEAT

Effective Feb. 17, online marketplaces will be subject “to stricter due diligence and reporting requirements, improving transparency for buyers, and e-commerce tricks to encourage panic buying will be outlawed,” according to FEAT, which lists the measures affecting ticket resale marketplaces:

  • “Identifying and verifying professional sellers: Online marketplaces will be required to obtain essential information about third party professional sellers, such as name, contact details and ID, before traders can list tickets on the platform. They will also be required to ensure that the seller’s name, contact and trading details appear on the listing.
  • “Prohibition of dark patterns: Ticket resale sites will be banned from using design tricks that manipulate consumers into decisions, such as “pop-ups” or giving prominence to specific choices.
  • “Annual reporting: Ticket resale sites ​​will be required to produce easily comprehensible and publicly-available annual reports on takedowns of ticket listings.This will give an indication of the scale of harmful activity taking place.
  • “Increased accountability for marketplaces: Resale platforms will be required to make it clear throughout the buying process that the tickets listed are provided by a third party. If a platform fails to do this and fans are led to believe that the tickets are provided by the platform itself, the platform can be held responsible for any tickets listed in contravention of national laws.
  • “Increased oversight: Every Member State is in the process of appointing a Digital Services Coordinator (DSC) to enforce the rules laid out in the DSA, with far-reaching powers of investigation. DSCs will have the ability to sanction platforms that do not comply with these new regulations, and consumers will be able to notify DSCs of any illegal listings through a simple flagging procedure.”

FEAT is now engaged in working with Member States’ newly-appointed Digital Services Coordinators to ensure effective enforcement of the DSA, which includes “establishing a clear process for reporting and taking down ticket listings that contradict Member State or EU law,” according to FEAT.

The enforcement framework can be viewed on the EU’s website outlining its digital strategy.

FEAT director Sam Shemtob commented, “This is a landmark moment for Europe’s live events sector. Our priority now is to ensure that the new rules are enforced, with a clear process for removing illegal ticket listings as and when they appear. FEAT is looking forward to working with DSCs across the Member States to make this happen and lay the groundwork for a fairer, more transparent ticket-buying experience for consumers on the secondary market.”

Since the end of August 2023, these rules already apply to designated platforms with more than 45 million users in the EU (10% of the EU’s population), the so-called Very large online platforms (VLOPs) or Very large online search engines (VLOSEs).

Subscribe to Pollstar HERE