Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has joined hands with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who is spearheading a national effort to outlaw so-called “ticket bots”—computer programs that buy up the best seats to Broadway shows, concerts and other events within moments of their going on sale.
New York State criminalized use of the programs two months ago, but the effort would have limited effectiveness if the operators of the “bots” simply moved their bases of operations to another state.
In a press conference at Sardi's theatrical restaurant in Times Square, Miranda and Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin announced their support for Schumer‘s sponsorship of legislation that would impose a $16,000 fine on those who use automated ticket purchasing software to purchase tickets online.
The Broadway megahit Hamilton has been a special target of the bots, making the already-scarce tickets even scarcer, then reselling them at a steep markup.
Schumer was quoted as saying, “If the starting price for a ticket to Hamilton is $189, but the bots have been selling them from anywhere from $600 to $2,000 a ticket — just think how much money the people make.”
New York State‘s legislation was prompted by an investigation by NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that targeted the abuses by the operators of the bots.
“It’s plain and simple,” Schumer said, “we need to sweep the stage of bots so that actual fans can enjoy Hamilton, other hit Broadway shows and major concerts.... Hackers and other bad actors are taking advantage of fans and we need to put a stop to it. These bots have gotten completely out of control and their dominance in the market is driving up prices for music and sports fans as well as tourists and theater-goers. This new legislation, now supported by Lin-Manuel Miranda, will crack down on online hackers and scalpers that use ‘bots’ to purchase thousands of tickets in a matter of milli-seconds, and then sell them at outrageously-inflated prices.”