For the last year, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway smash Hamilton has been the hottest ticket in town. The cheap seats alone set you back at least $360, and when it came time for Miranda’s final shows in the production last month, tickets went for as much as $15,000. Scalpers, of course, are the main culprit for such skyrocketing prices, as they scoop up swathes of seats and re-sell them on secondary markets. If Miranda gets his way, however, the widespread use of ticket scalping bots (programs that can buy hundreds of tickets in mere milliseconds) will soon prove illegal — and costly.
Miranda today joined Senator Chuck Schumer to promote the On-Line Ticket Sales Act (or BOTS Act) of 2016 (via The Verge). The bill calls for a new federal law that would fine bot users $16,000 per ticket purchased using the programs.
Though many states, including New York, have pre-existing laws against scalping that include jail time, none have a financial penalty as steep as the proposed BOTS Act. New York’s anti-bot legislation (which Miranda previously supported) calls for a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison for anyone using a bot to purchase tickets. California’s law, meanwhile, calls for a $2,500 total fine plus a potential of up to six months in jail.
Schumer first introduced the BOTS Act — which would also set up an investigative task force to patrol popular ticketing websites for potential bot users — in March. In a statement, Senator Schumer said, “By eliminating ‘bots’ and slapping hackers with a hefty fine, we can better ensure those who want to attend shows in the future will not have to pay outrageous, unfair prices.”
In his own Twitter statement, Miranda said his role in this fight is like that of Sarah Connor in the Terminator series.