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Company Town : House to Weigh Ticket Vendor Law

August 19, 1994|CHUCK PHILIPS

Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), the powerful chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was expected to introduce today a bill to require distributors of tickets to shows, concerts and sporting events to disclose the fees they add to the price of each ticket. The legislation would mark the first federal regulation of ticket distribution. It would place transactions conducted by Los Angeles-based Ticketmaster and other such vendors under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission.

The Justice Department has been investigating reports of anti-competitive practices in the industry since the Seattle rock band Pearl Jam filed a complaint May 6. Pearl Jam accused Ticketmaster of using its influence with concert promoters to thwart the group's plan for a low-priced tour this summer. Ticketmaster has denied any wrongdoing.

Dingell became interested in the issue after members of Pearl Jam testified June 30 in a House Government Operations subcommittee inquiry into the $1-billion U.S. concert industry. A California congressman, Rep. Gary A. Condit (D-Ceres), chaired that hearing and is a co-sponsor of Dingell's bill.

Committee hearings on the proposed legislation are expected to take place in the fall.

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