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Ticketmaster Sues Internet Rival

August 12, 1999|Jonathan Gaw

Events ticketing giant Ticketmaster Corp. has sued Newport Beach-based Tickets.com Inc., accusing the Internet firm of plagiarism, providing false and misleading information and illegally linking to Ticketmaster's Web pages. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court last month, said Tickets.com misled Web surfers by providing incorrect telephone numbers for Ticketmaster that instead rang up brokers who would then try to sell marked-up tickets. Also, Ticketmaster accused Tickets.com of falsely telling customers that some tickets were not for sale online and had to be bought from a broker, when entertainment venues still had tickets available through Ticketmaster. Tickets.com "makes every effort to make sure that all of the information we have is accurate," said Thomas Gimple, the company's president and chief executive. "What we're trying to accomplish is provide a customer service, and it is not intuitive that we would do anything to hurt that experience." Ticketmaster also accused Tickets.com of "deep linking" into Ticketmaster's site, a common practice on the Web that corporations have been challenging with increasing frequency. Deep linking is when one Web site connects to another, but instead of directing people to the front page of that site, it connects to a page several layers deep, bypassing advertising that many companies count on for revenue. Last year, Ticketmaster sued Microsoft Corp. over deep linking, but the case was settled in February, with Microsoft agreeing to stop the practice.

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