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California ban on ticket-buying 'bots' is signed into law

September 23, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • Fans of Justin Bieber, shown performing in Singapore, may have an easier time getting tickets to California shows under a bill signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Fans of Justin Bieber, shown performing in Singapore, may have an easier… (Nicky Loh / Getty Images )

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation outlawing the use of so-called ticket-buying software, or "bots," that can purchase hundreds of the best seats to concerts and sporting events within seconds of their going on sale online.

Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) said he introduced AB 329 because the bots give scalpers an unfair advantage in buying up tickets that they can then resell at a steep profit.

The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, makes it a misdemeanor subject to up to six months in jail and special civil fines of up to $2,500 to use software to circumvent the security of ticket-selling websites to conduct mass purchases.

Supporters of the bill include Ticketmaster, which said in a statement: “This is an important step in combating nefarious scalping practices."

Meanwhile, California drivers will have to provide three feet of space between their vehicle and bicyclists they pass on the roads, or slow down as they go by for safety, under legislation also signed Monday by Brown.

AB 1371 represents a partial victory for bicyclists who have lobbied for years for stricter safety measures in response to a large number of car-vs.-bicycle accidents.

Brown vetoed a similar bill last year that also would have directed motorists to cross the double yellow line into opposing traffic lanes if it is safe to do so and necessary to provide a three-foot buffer for cyclists.

The provision on crossing into other lanes was removed from this year’s bill by Steven C. Bradford (D-Gardena).

Violating the new law when it takes effect in September 2014 will be an infraction punishable by a base fine of $35, but court fees will make the penalty higher. Drivers who violate the new law and collide with a bicyclist causing injury face a fine of $220.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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