A letter from the American Conservative Union and the Institute for Liberty to Fellow Conservatives

October 24, 2012

Dear Fellow Conservative Leaders,

Our organizations share a commitment to preserving freedom and capitalism in America’s market economy – from preventing unnecessary government interference in the marketplace to protecting individual property rights. We at ACU and IFL are concerned that, when it comes to ticket sales and resales, the new practice of “restrictive ticketing” represents a threat to free market forces and property rights.

“Restrictive ticketing” is a movement by some entities to create monopolies in the arena of ticket sales and radically restrict what consumers can do with the tickets they buy. It prevents or limits an individual ticketholder’s ability to sell or give away his or her own tickets. It crowds out small businesses from the market and assigns arbitrary pricing, whether lower or higher, to goods and services – regardless of the ticket’s true value, as determined by the desire and demand of consumers.

Those pushing restrictive tickets say they are a means to prevent scalping, and that freedom of contracts allows the imposition of unlimited terms and conditions and restrictions on the consumer.  But the real reason is to enable ticketing companies and their clients – venues, event producers and sports teams – to monopolize the secondary market for tickets to their events and to stifle competition from independent re-sellers and resale marketplaces.

Controlling the secondary market also allows these ticketing companies to impose price floors on resellers, thus ensuring that the secondary market cannot offer better deals than the primary market for the same event.  This violates free market principles.  If we buy tickets six weeks before an event and then circumstances prevent us from attending, we should have the right to give away, share or re-sell those tickets at any price we choose.

In a number of states, pro-free market legislators are leading efforts to protect property rights and competition when it comes to ticket sales. The bills they are proposing increase transparency in the process, preserve ownership rights and curb potential monopolies. Our members and supporters across the country applaud these efforts to protect the free market and individual rights. We urge you to join us in supporting these efforts.

Gregg Keller

Executive Director

American Conservative Union

Andrew Langer

President

Institute for Liberty

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