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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 01:24 GMT
Artists 'must benefit from touts'
Led Zeppelin at the O2 arena
Led Zeppelin beat touts at their O2 concert

Artists and sports bodies should share profits from tickets resold on internet auction sites, MPs have said.

In a report on touting, they have stopped short of calling for a ban, but have told online touts to "clean up their act" because they exploit fans.

They also criticised event organisers and promoters, saying they helped to feed the market with non-existent or inadequate returns services.

The MPs' report calls for a voluntary industry code of conduct for reselling.

The Culture, Media and Sport select committee said up to 40% of tickets were being sold on the internet.

Dozens of UK venues and promoters gave evidence to MPs for the report, which concludes that "some secondary sellers indulged in dubious or suspect practices".

'Voluntary solution'

Committee chairman John Whittingdale said it was "neither practical nor in the interests of consumers" to ban ticket sales through the secondary market - where tickets are sold on.

Instead, the MPs are calling on representatives from all sides to come together to provide a "voluntary solution".

Mr Whittingdale said that if they failed to reach agreement on such a code, government legislation would be used as "a last resort".

The committee's report also said:

  • The internet had made it easier for people to profit from selling on tickets. It concluded this was unfair.
  • Organisers wanted to protect their industry, saying they could just inflate prices if they wanted to boost profits.
  • Organisers should let people get refunds in some circumstances.
  • There should be an "across-the-board commitment" that the "distasteful" sale of tickets for free events and charity events - such as Concert for Diana - will be stopped.
  • There should be a ban on reselling tickets given free to children or people with disabilities.

Mr Whittingdale said giving event organisers a share in profits from resold tickets was the "middle way".

"This represents a way forward which could benefit all concerned, and we call on all those involved in the debate to work together to develop it on a self-regulatory basis," he added.

Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys
The Arctic Monkeys are among those calling for a levy on resold tickets
The Resale Rights Society (RRS) - representing the managers of the Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and Robbie Williams and more than 400 other acts - has already said it would support a levy being added to resold tickets.

A spokesman said the existing situation, where big profits can be made by touts with nothing going to the organisers or rights owners, was "unfair and must be addressed".

"We welcome the committee's backing for our campaign to clean up the secondary ticketing market and ensure that music fans and musicians get a fair deal," he said.

'Sufficient protections'

But Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis said touting should be banned, and the problem of re-selling tickets should be dealt with by getting people to pre-register and putting photos on tickets.

And Eric Baker of secondary ticketing website Viagogo dismissed the idea as "a tax on fans".

Why don't they do what we're doing at Glastonbury - getting people to pre-register and putting photos on tickets?
Michael Eavis

"Artists have already been paid once so it would be ridiculous for them to pay again," he said.

"It's like reselling a car and expecting that Ford will be paid again."

EBay spokeswoman Vanessa Canzini said she welcomed the report and backed "self-regulation backed up by proper consumer protection".

"We are delighted that the committee has rejected a blanket ban on ticket resale and upheld consumers' right to resell spare tickets," she added.

Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster also welcomed a code of conduct.

But he added: "We must ensure that any code includes sufficient protections for the consumer to make sure the tickets they receive are legitimate and usable.

"In the wake of this report, it's now time for the government to put an end to the confusion and take a clear position on this important issue."

Spice Girls fans on ticket touts

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