Touts win in Big Day Out case

Ticket touts and eBay have been handed a legal victory in Australia, after a court ruled that organisers of the Big Day Out festival had no right to cancel tickets being sold for profit on the internet auction site...

The Federal Court ruled that organisers of Big Day Out festival will not be allowed to threaten entry to any festival goers who have bought tickets second hand through websites such as eBay.

It comes after eBay argued that Big Day Out’s new anti-touting ticketing policy was misleading and deceptive. The issue related to the conditions printed on festival tickets, which were changed from “may be voidable” if resold for profit to “will be voidable”.

Ruling in favour of eBay, Justice Steven Rares said that Creative Entertainment, the company behind the Australian festival tour, “did not have reasonable grounds” to claim every ticket resold for profit would be cancelled, before adding that the result was “unfortunate”.

Although no legal precedent can be set in individual countries from a foreign case, eBay’s victory could have ramifications in future cases brought by eBay against other festivals. T In The Park is one festival which has turned the heat on touts in the past by cancelling tickets being sold for extortionate mark-ups.

Glastonbury Festival too has fought a lengthy battle with online touts and now ensures that the buyer’s name is printed on their ticket and check against ID before admitting entry.

The 2007 Big Day Out Festival has already sold out in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast. 

Festival director Ken West said after the case that the ruling would encourage touts to use online sites to sell more tickets, however he has vowed to introduce a new system next year to slow the problem.

Spokesman for eBay Australia, Daniel Feiler, said the site took the action because some people were confused by claims their tickets would be cancelled if resold at profit. He said: “It is the responsibility of the promoters to make sure tickets get into the hands of genuine fans.”

However Mr West claimed: “There is no way that eBay is protecting the consumer. The technology is five years ahead of the legislation.”

Fellow music promoter Michael Chugg, who supported Mr West’s Federal Court bid, said the fight was “not over yet”.

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