“Not Guilty” Pleas for Three Men Accused of Ticketmaster Hacking

March 3rd, 2010 by Daniel Kreps Leave a reply »

Three men accused of running a ticket-scalping enterprise that grossed nearly $29 million have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and computer hacking, NorthJersey,com reports. According to the 43-count indictment, the three men allegedly created a computer software that allowed them send mass ticket requests to ticketing websites like Ticketmaster and MLB.com by bypassing the sites’ Captchas — those squiggly words you enter before purchasing tickets — allowing the men to rake in large amounts of tickets to in-demand events and then sell them for a big profit.

According to the indictment, the three California men — Kenneth Lowson, Kristofer Kirsch and Joel Stevenson — scooped up the best tickets for artists like Bruce Springsteen and Miley Cyrus and other events like New York Yankees playoff games and then sold them through their company Wiseguy Tickets Inc. More than 1.5 tickets were purchased using the software, which was developed by programmers in Bulgaria to bypass ticketing sites’ safeguard measures, for a profit of nearly $29 million from 2002 to 2008.

In pleading not guilty, the defendants’ legal team claimed that their clients in fact did not break any laws, and attorney Mark Rush told the judge, “Congress has not yet legislated that ticket brokering is illegal.” Rush also argued that selling tickets for higher than face value is legal in 47 states. Two of the three men were released on bail, with a May 3rd trial date set. A fourth man involved in the indictment is expected to surrender to authorities soon.

With the future of the ticketing industry in flux following the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation and the possibility that the secondary ticket market will play an even larger role moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see if this case may spur some change regarding states’ stances on scalping in the future.


Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily

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