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Ticketmaster Sues|Online Scalpers

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Scalpers illegally circumvent security on Ticketmaster's website to buy millions of tickets to resell for profit, the ticket seller claims in court.

Ticketmaster filed two federal lawsuits, against Higs Tickets, of Boston, and Blazing Tickets, of Orange County, Calif.

Higs Tickets president John Higgins and director Patrick Higgins are also named as defendants; as are Blazing Tickets principal Michael Obermann and employees Donald Obermann and Kirsten Engstrom.

The scalpers use software robots, or bots, to get around Ticketmaster's security measures, including the widely used CAPUTCHA system (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart), Ticketmaster claims.

The system requires ticket buyers to retype randomly selected characters to guard against malicious software, buts Ticketmaster claims the defendants have broken through the security measure.

It claims the scalpers makes hundreds of thousands of requests to reserve tickets each day, masking identities through credits cards, user names, emails and IP addresses.

It claims the defendants design software robots that can interact with the Ticketmaster website and get around security upgrades.

"These deceptive and improper actions are harming Ticketmaster as well as consumers who seek to lawfully purchase tickets through Ticketmaster's website," Ticketmaster claims in the lawsuits. "The use of automated devices, which can access and navigate a website and complete tasks and transactions far more quickly than human users can, deprives legitimate consumers of the opportunity to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster, a problem that is compounded when, as here, users of these devices purchase tickets in quantities far in excess of contractual per customer ticket limits."

The bots clog Ticketmaster's system with thousands of requests that reserve tickets for a limited amount of time, making them unavailable to others, the ticket seller says,

Ticketmaster's ability to measure ticket sales for individual events is also disrupted, the complaint states.

Ticketmaster seeks an injunction, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, imposition of a constructive trust, and punitive damages for breach of contract, copyright infringement, violations of the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act, fraud, inducing breach of contract, and intentional interference with contract.

It is represented by Robert Platt with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

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