By Amanda Wicks
Lin-Manuel Miranda isn’t just one of the most celebrated writers of his time, he’s also a committed activist dedicated to ensuring everyone has equal access to art. That includes supporting legislation that would make it far more difficult for scalpers to use bot programs to buy and resell hundreds of tickets at a time.
The playwright and actor teamed up with New York Senator Chuck Schumer to encourage Congress to pass a new bill called the Better On-line Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016. If passed, it would mean scalpers caught using bot programming would face hefty fines (via Rolling Stone). “The bot software that’s used right now basically makes the price range—even a special event price range—out of the range for most Americans,” Miranda said about his involvement with the bill during a press conference on Sunday.
“It’s plain and simple: We need to sweep the stage of bots so that actual fans can enjoy Hamilton, other hit Broadway shows and major concerts,” said Schumer. “Hackers and other bad actors are taking advantage of fans and we need to put a stop to it. These bots have gotten completely out of control and their dominance in the market is driving up prices for music and sports fans as well as tourists and theatergoers.” Schumer said that during Miranda’s run with Hamilton, scalpers bought up over 20,000 tickets and resold them at a minimum of three times the original price. “If the starting price for a ticket to Hamilton is $189, but the bots have been selling them from anywhere from $600 to $2,000 a ticket–just think how much money the people make,” he said.
Fans of Radiohead and Drake can surely appreciate the effort. Those interested in attending either tour found they were too late when tickets sold out within seconds for every single show. The New York Attorney General even launched an investigation into bot practices in December when Bruce Springsteen ticket offerings showed up on sites like StubHub before they’d even gone on sale to the general public.