[114th Congress Public Law 274]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

[[Page 130 STAT. 1401]]

Public Law 114-274
114th Congress

                                 An Act

   To prohibit the circumvention of control measures used by Internet 
 ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for any 
   given event, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 14, 2016 -  [S. 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Better Online 
Ticket Sales Act of 2016.>> 
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 15 USC 58 note.>>  SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Better Online Ticket Sales Act of 
2016'' or the ``BOTS Act of 2016''.
                    ACCESS CONTROL MEASURES.

    (a) Conduct Prohibited.--
            (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), it 
        shall be unlawful for any person--
                    (A) to circumvent a security measure, access control 
                system, or other technological control or measure on an 
                Internet website or online service that is used by the 
                ticket issuer to enforce posted event ticket purchasing 
                limits or to maintain the integrity of posted online 
                ticket purchasing order rules; or
                    (B) to sell or offer to sell any event ticket in 
                interstate commerce obtained in violation of 
                subparagraph (A) if the person selling or offering to 
                sell the ticket either--
                          (i) participated directly in or had the 
                      ability to control the conduct in violation of 
                      subparagraph (A); or
                          (ii) knew or should have known that the event 
                      ticket was acquired in violation of subparagraph 
            (2) Exception.--It shall not be unlawful under this section 
        for a person to create or use any computer software or system--
                    (A) to investigate, or further the enforcement or 
                defense, of any alleged violation of this section or 
                other statute or regulation; or
                    (B) to engage in research necessary to identify and 
                analyze flaws and vulnerabilities of measures, systems, 
                or controls described in paragraph (1)(A), if these 
                research activities are conducted to advance the state 
                of knowledge in the field of computer system security or 
                to assist in the development of computer security 

    (b) Enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission.--
            (1) Unfair or deceptive acts or practices.--A violation of 
        subsection (a) shall be treated as a violation of a rule 

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        an unfair or a deceptive act or practice under section 
        18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 
            (2) Powers of commission.--
                    (A) In general.--The Commission shall enforce this 
                section in the same manner, by the same means, and with 
                the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all 
                applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade 
                Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated 
                into and made a part of this section.
                    (B) Privileges and immunities.--Any person who 
                violates subsection (a) shall be subject to the 
                penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities 
                provided in the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 
                41 et seq.).
                    (C) Authority preserved.--Nothing in this section 
                shall be construed to limit the authority of the Federal 
                Trade Commission under any other provision of law.

    (c) Enforcement by States.--
            (1) In general.--In any case in which the attorney general 
        of a State has reason to believe that an interest of the 
        residents of the State has been or is threatened or adversely 
        affected by the engagement of any person subject to subsection 
        (a) in a practice that violates such subsection, the attorney 
        general of the State may, as parens patriae, bring a civil 
        action on behalf of the residents of the State in an appropriate 
        district court of the United States--
                    (A) to enjoin further violation of such subsection 
                by such person;
                    (B) to compel compliance with such subsection; and
                    (C) to obtain damages, restitution, or other 
                compensation on behalf of such residents.
            (2) Rights of federal trade commission.--
                    (A) Notice to federal trade commission.--
                          (i) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  In general.--Except 
                      as provided in clause (iii), the attorney general 
                      of a State shall notify the Commission in writing 
                      that the attorney general intends to bring a civil 
                      action under paragraph (1) not later than 10 days 
                      before initiating the civil action.
                          (ii) <<NOTE: Records.>>  Contents.--The 
                      notification required by clause (i) with respect 
                      to a civil action shall include a copy of the 
                      complaint to be filed to initiate the civil 
                          (iii) Exception.--If it is not feasible for 
                      the attorney general of a State to provide the 
                      notification required by clause (i) before 
                      initiating a civil action under paragraph (1), the 
                      attorney general shall notify the Commission 
                      immediately upon instituting the civil action.
                    (B) Intervention by federal trade commission.--The 
                Commission may--
                          (i) intervene in any civil action brought by 
                      the attorney general of a State under paragraph 
                      (1); and
                          (ii) upon intervening--
                                    (I) be heard on all matters arising 
                                in the civil action; and
                                    (II) file petitions for appeal of a 
                                decision in the civil action.
            (3) Investigatory powers.--Nothing in this subsection may be 
        construed to prevent the attorney general of a State

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        from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by 
        the laws of the State to conduct investigations, to administer 
        oaths or affirmations, or to compel the attendance of witnesses 
        or the production of documentary or other evidence.
            (4) Preemptive action by federal trade commission.--If the 
        Commission institutes a civil action or an administrative action 
        with respect to a violation of subsection (a), the attorney 
        general of a State may not, during the pendency of such action, 
        bring a civil action under paragraph (1) against any defendant 
        named in the complaint of the Commission for the violation with 
        respect to which the Commission instituted such action.
            (5) Venue; service of process.--
                    (A) Venue.--Any action brought under paragraph (1) 
                may be brought in--
                          (i) the district court of the United States 
                      that meets applicable requirements relating to 
                      venue under section 1391 of title 28, United 
                      States Code; or
                          (ii) another court of competent jurisdiction.
                    (B) Service of process.--In an action brought under 
                paragraph (1), process may be served in any district in 
                which the defendant--
                          (i) is an inhabitant; or
                          (ii) may be found.
            (6) Actions by other state officials.--
                    (A) In general.--In addition to civil actions 
                brought by attorneys general under paragraph (1), any 
                other consumer protection officer of a State who is 
                authorized by the State to do so may bring a civil 
                action under paragraph (1), subject to the same 
                requirements and limitations that apply under this 
                subsection to civil actions brought by attorneys 
                    (B) Savings provision.--Nothing in this subsection 
                may be construed to prohibit an authorized official of a 
                State from initiating or continuing any proceeding in a 
                court of the State for a violation of any civil or 
                criminal law of the State.
SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 15 USC 45c note.>> DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal 
        Trade Commission.
            (2) Event.--The term ``event'' means any concert, theatrical 
        performance, sporting event, show, or similarly scheduled 
        activity, taking place in a venue with a seating or attendance 
        capacity exceeding 200 persons that--
                    (A) is open to the general public; and
                    (B) is promoted, advertised, or marketed in 
                interstate commerce or for which event tickets are 
                generally sold or distributed in interstate commerce.
            (3) Event ticket.--The term ``event ticket'' means any 
        physical, electronic, or other form of a certificate, document, 
        voucher, token, or other evidence indicating that the bearer, 
        possessor, or person entitled to possession through purchase or 
        otherwise has--
                    (A) a right, privilege, or license to enter an event 
                venue or occupy a particular seat or area in an event 
                venue with respect to one or more events; or

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                    (B) an entitlement to purchase such a right, 
                privilege, or license with respect to one or more future 
            (4) Ticket issuer.--The term ``ticket issuer'' means any 
        person who makes event tickets available, directly or 
        indirectly, to the general public, and may include--
                    (A) the operator of the venue;
                    (B) the sponsor or promoter of an event;
                    (C) a sports team participating in an event or a 
                league whose teams are participating in an event;
                    (D) a theater company, musical group, or similar 
                participant in an event; and
                    (E) an agent for any such person.

    Approved December 14, 2016.


HOUSE REPORTS: No. 114-733 (Comm. on Energy and Commerce) accompanying 
H.R. 5104.
SENATE REPORTS: No. 114-391 (Comm. on Commerce, Science, and 
            Nov. 30, considered and passed Senate.
            Dec. 7, considered and passed House.