Tuesday, February 17, 2015

An Extended Conversation With Andrew Langer, Former Red Maryland Host

Andrew Langer is a former Red Maryland host, and head of the Institute for Liberty, who took issue with my piece and wrote a substantial response in a column posted to Facebook - Mr. Langer's comments will be in red, mine will be normal.

Here's the counter argument. I buy a ticket. Like any other _good_ in the marketplace, it's mine. I should be able to sell it at either a profit _OR_ a loss (which is generally what happens), or even give it away to someone else. Those rights are under assault, currently

Here's the direct quote from my blog addressing that issue directly:

"Under what is known as the "First Sale Doctrine", a seller of a product restrict the resale of a product, so if someone buys a book, car or toaster, they can sell it to anyone else without restriction. But when someone buys a ticket, they aren't buying the ticket itself - instead they are buying access to an event."

Your arguments might have merit if the venue owner was actually interested in keeping track of who was going to be witnessing the performance (they used to be--racist venue owners had a big hand in early anti-scalping laws to they could retain the right to refuse entry to minorities who had circumvented buying tickets for shows at the box office). But since those justifications no longer withstand scrutiny, the entire "restricting access" argument hold no water. The venue-owner's primary interest is in "selling out" the venue--and they don't care who buys the ticket.

Here's the direct quote from my blog addressing that issue directly:

"Venue operators don't like [scalping] for several reasons; their customers either start the event feeling ripped off and in a foul mood or don't go because they couldn't get tickets and didn't want to gamble in hopes of scalped tickets, empty seats and lost concessions from tickets that go un-resold, and frustrated fans that feel they couldn't get tickets because resellers bought them all. Anyone would be annoyed if they opened an event to a large number of empty seats but fans who couldn't get in because the event was "sold out" (to scalpers)."

And I thought that this was such an insignificant point that I didn't include it, but the idea that venue operators LOSE rights because they don't aggressively use them is ridiculous.

The venue operator may not even have rights to the income from ticket sales, and therefore be entirely dependent upon concession sales. The venue-owner's primary interest is in maximizing paying customers, not selling-out a venue and not having anyone show up.

But what about the argument that a ticket purchase is akin to a rights-restricted lease? Again, that might hold water if the venue owners were keeping tabs on who was buying

Your entire objection is that they ARE keeping track, and only admitting ticket purchasers.

[A]nd even though lessees of real estate go through credit checks, there are still opportunities for secondary marketplaces in leasing

Just because a credit check is a standard practice for large leases does not mean it can be used to exclude things as smaller leases. The Uniform Commercial Code and the Common Law before that recognize the difference between "Big" and "Small" in business dealings and contracts.

No, the reality is, restrictions on secondary marketplaces exist to for the benefit of one very large company, that spends millions of dollars around the country to gin the rules in their favor and to keep out competition.

And when they use the government to write laws for their benefit I object. Here, you are attempting to pass law to deny someone else their contract rights. Your logic simply doesn't work - contractual restrictions on the primary marketplace also exist for the benefit of those big companies. If you don't like, don't go to those events. If you don't like a business practice, don't go to places that employ it.

That's the core of the free market

Conservatives, libertarians, anyone interested in free-markets and limited-government calls such behavior "crony capitalism".

This is upside-down moon-logic. Having the government step in and force other people to act on your terms is the *opposite* of Free Market principles.

Oh, and incidentally, Jason--government exists for one purpose, and one purpose alone, to protect individual rights. Calling for legislation to preserve and protect individual rights is hardly calling for "big government". It's calling for government to do it's job. Maybe you should have asked some of the folks who have been fighting for private property rights for decades about this issue, before writing about it

You don't have an individual right to someone else's property.

More fundamentally, legitimate government exists for two reasons - the first is the protection of rights, and the second is the protection of the populace independent of the protection of rights.

The following is an email exchange between myself and Mr. Langer, following the same rules. I will post my composition of his emails with my responses for ease of reading, though a few minor lines of Mr. Langer's were deleted for space reasons or otherwise noted.

1st email set

Except they're not. These companies (or, more appropriately one company, Ticketmaster - which owns LiveNation), use the power of government to maintain a stranglehold on the ticket marketplace, the very definition of cronyism.

What is the law you are talking about?

Let's look at history. The original justification for anti-scalping legislation (and let's be clear about the mechanism: venues and ticket sellers used their power and money and influence to create laws, ie, create more government. Attempts to correct this are not an attempt to enlarge government. They are an attempt to return government to the purpose of actually protecting rather than frustrating individual rights).... the original justifications were to correct two things: to prevent the sale of counterfeit tickets, and to allow racist venue owners a additional ability to control who entered their venues (and another justification for ejecting patrons).

The legislation you support does not repeal prohibitions on scalping (assuming they exist). Rather, it is the addition of regulations that prevent ticket sellers from contracting certain requirements on ticket redemption. More government regulation is more government. Regulating the ticket sales to entertainment events is pretty big government.
And this attempt to shoe-horn racism into the current discussion is really quite disgusting. It has no relevance here.

And it's a system which, especially when it comes to tickets to sporting events, by and large tickets are sold for below face value. I could care less if someone is willing to pay $5,000 for a $1000 face-value Super Bowl ticket. But I am incensed when someone who bought a ticket for $50 is restricted from selling that ticket for $25, or is prevented from giving that ticket to someone else.
This is the same feeling that caused people to go into an uproar when RyanAir (Europe's version of Southwest) refused to refund a non-refundable ticket to a woman who appealed to the CEO. He said that she bought a non-refundable ticket. Non-refundable means non-refundable. If you don't like that aspect of the ticket, don't buy it. Same with transferring, if you don't want a non-transferable ticket, don't buy it.

It is not our place to decide what rules other people may make in their business dealings. The belief that there are certain outcomes that may be imposed upon people at the point of a gun is the very essence of Progressivism.

If a sufficiently large number of ticket buyers felt that the ability to resell tickets was important, market pressures alone would convince ticket sellers to enable ticket reselling. And guess what? They do. You aren't actually asking for that. What you are asking for is a restriction on someone else, and you are ignoring the consequences of that re

That's what this bill corrects, ultimately, that wrong to someone's right to do with their ticket as they choose.

As a libertarian conservative, I look at the balancing of rights this way: all law is created (or is supposed to be created), when the exercise of rights come into conflict. And just law weighs on the side of the party more aggrived.

In this instance, the two parties are the venue owner/ticket seller, and the ticket buyer/owner. The VO/TS has the right to set a base price for the ticket, has the right to set the rules by which the tickets are initially sold, has the right to set systems to prevent counterfeiting, the right to eject attendees for cause.

The TB/O has the right to buy the ticket, has the right to retain that ticket, the right to enty, and as far as I am concerned, the right to sell that ticket at a profit or a loss, or give that ticket away.

So let's look at when those rights come into conflict on the issue of ticket resale. While the argument has been advanced that somehow ticket resale violates the property rights of the VO/TS, their rights are made whole when that ticket has been purchased for the amount the VO/TS offered it up for sale. The person more aggrieved is the TB/O, whose rights to re-sale (or to give that ticket to someone else) have been restricted, since their resale doesn't implicate the rights of the VO/TS, except in future profits (to which they would otherwise not be entitled). 

Unlike just about any other good in the marketplace, tickets are one of the few that have such restrictions. As I believe I mentioned, other goods have restrictions because there are national security, or public health and safety implications (like the restriction on airline ticket resale).

You don't have a property right to a service. You have a contract right to a service, and your rights are defined and outlined in thecontract, both in the express components and the implied components. That's the bad premise you start from - you confuseproperty with services.

Nobody cares about the physical piece of paper that is being exchanged. That piece of paper is simply a promise to receive a service, that is, entertainment of some kind, at a future date and specific location. When you purchase the service, you donot have any of the natural property rights that attach to purchases of property. That's your starting flaw. That's why you see a rights conflict where there cannot be one.

Now, we can talk about the issues of "tickets as licenses", the intellectual property rights arguments, etc... But let's start with. Oh, but one more thing. This issue of being required to show up at the venue with the credit card you used to purchase the tickets is an especially pernicious one--with tickets going on sale months in advance of a show, and with credit card theft running rampant, we are seeing ever-increasing instances of people whose credit cards are voluntarily canceled or have new numbers issued between the time of purchase and the time of the show. So these requirements are fundamentally unfair, and because of the lack of competition within the marketplace require a legislative solution to protect individual rights.

The appropriate response, if that is a concern for you, is to not buy tickets with that requirement. Perhaps start a public pressure campaign to modify it or suppress sales until the seller abandons that requirement. The answer is not to run to government and demand armed men make the sellers change it by threat of force.

And It's especially wrong to require someone who is trying to transfer tickets to someone else due to some sort of family emergency to show up at the venue with their credit card and ID and personally "swipe someone into" an event.

Right. Because that's really what you're concerned about.

2nd Reply Set

It depends on the state and the situation. In some states, it’s the maintenance of outmoded and outdated resale laws already on the books. In other states, it’s the expansion of such laws to prevent any transfer or resale of tickets, like in Florida and Tennessee, both states in which I’ve testified on the issue.

Then the answer is to repeal those laws, not to make new ones.

Except it does, since that’s part of the history underlying the initial laws to prevent ticket resale. When racism underpins the movement to pass the initial statutes, it’s not irrelevant to raise that history as a partial justification for undoing the problems of the past. Please look at the efforts by the Institute for Justice, a non-profit, pro-entrepreneurship law firm that works to undo protectionist regulatory practices, and their efforts in getting the restrictions on shoe shining businesses in DC overturned.

Many government restrictions on business practice are merit-less. It doesn't matter why the regulations existed 30 years ago, what matters is why they exist now. IJ is not fighting the laws because 40 years ago they had a racist motive, but because those are bad laws.

Moreover, as I said to you on Facebook, because government’s sole proper purpose is the protection of individual rights, the advocacy for legislation whose purpose is to protect individual rights is patently NOT “big government”.

Except there's no inherent right being violated here. There's no property at stake.

I’ve advocated for legislation to enshrine in statute the definition of “public use” under the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution, so that the taking of private property for a Kelo-style redevelopment effort could not occur. By your logic, this would be “more government” since it would require new laws, new regulations, even though we’re reining in governmental power.

This is the classic Progressive conflation between "restrictions on governmental force" and "restrictions on voluntary co-operation." Restricting the size and scope of government cannot be big government.

Ah, but here you’re talking about something entirely different—someone in a functioning competitive marketplace who can pick and choose the terms by which she purchases a product, and if she doesn’t like the terms of one product provider, she can readily turn to another.

This is not the case in the ticket marketplace, where you have one entity controlling both ticket-sales and venues, entirely dictating the terms---and using their power, money and influence to gin rules so that innovative actors cannot challenge the market hegemony (such as has been the case when this entity, Ticketmaster, works to enact laws that would shut businesses like StubHub and SeatGeek out of the process.

The market in question is not "The sellers of tickets to see the Ravens". The market here is "The sellers of entertainment". Don't want to have to worry about transferring tickets? Go see a movie instead. Go to a theme park. Watch college sports. Check out local musicians. Stay home and watch them on TV.

What you want is your preferred events on your terms, and you don't want the other party to have a say. And you're willing to send the police in to impose it.

If she had other options to buy a non-transferable ticket, she would. And, in fact, this is why businesses like StubHub and SeatGeek have been created, why Ticketmaster has worked hard to shut them down, and, in the absence of having them shuttered, has attempted to adopt various aspects of their business models.

She does. She doesn't have to attend a venue where these rules are in play.

Actually, when a business serves to violate the rights of individuals, then it is our place to decide what rules to make to prevent that violation of individual rights.

To preserve rights, governments are instituted among men. That’s basic Jeffersonian doctrine. 

What right is violated when I contract to you access to my event under the condition that you may not pass that grant to someone else?

Sufficiently large numbers of ticket buyers DO feel that the ability to resell their tickets is important. This is why StubHub, SeatGeek, Craigslist, and other secondary marketplaces thrive, why Ticketmaster feels threatened, and why it has worked so hard to try and destroy these businesses or their ability to function is as ticket resellers (and has tried to create secondary marketplaces of their own).

They feel their ability to resell is important if it does not impose a cost. Lots of people would avoid paying if they had the option to take the tickets for free too. But once there is a cost imposed, the people do not care enough to seek alternate entertainment. And if they don't even care enough to do that, how can you talk about sending men with guns to impose it?

Except it’s not a service. It’s a good—a commodity, nothing more. That the commodity has a limited shelf-life or a single-use utility is immaterial.

Actually, it's a key element.



The “ticket as licence” or “ticket as contract” theory is a convenient fiction—a holdover of an era where venues were looking at legal reasoning to justify a host of protectionist rules, and to provide an additional safeguard in the issue of disputes over counterfeited tickets.

The free-market has provided the real safeguards regarding counterfeiting (with all sorts of excellent tools to protect venues and consumers from fake tickets).

And against scalpers too.

But since there’s no real negotiation, no ability to pick or choose between options, the idea that this is somehow a freely-entered into contract or license simply doesn’t hold water.

You don't have to accept the offer at all. There's no force involved with this. Ticketmaster is not pulling a gun and saying "You must buy Justin Bieber tickets."

But you’re not purchasing the service. You’re purchasing a piece of paper that guarantees the ticket holder a seat to witness the entertainment.

...that's an exceptionally stupid argument. To rephrase - "You're not purchasing a service. You're purchasing a guarantee that you will receive the service at a later time."

Yeah, that's how you purchase a service. Any service. Every service.

Were the venue to have a vested interest in WHO was going to watch the performance, then you might have an argument—much in the same way that a landlord has a vested interest in who rents (or sublets) an apartment, because the landlord/property owner works diligently to ensure that the value of his or her property is not going to be undercut by leasing the property to the wrong person.

And I'm not going to support displacing the judgments of property owners as to what their interests are.

But the Venue Owner/Ticket Seller doesn’t have a vested interest in who is going to watch the performance—they do nothing of the kind of due diligence that a landlord does in order to protect his or her property. They have the right to protect their venue and their seat, once someone is sitting in that seat and attending that performance, but beyond that their rights are limited.

This is incorrect. You want to limit them. They are not currently limited in that sense. And your argument is a post hoc rationalization that undercuts basic property rights as a whole.

If your logic were correct, then there could be no exchange or resale of gift certificates for things like haircuts or massages or any other kind of service. But if someone gives me a gift certificate for a service, and it’s not a service I want, or a service I can’t use, are you telling me that I don’t have the right to give it to someone else (or sell it on a secondary marketplace)?

If the seller of the gift certificate had a "no-transfer" rule at the time of sale, yes, you would not have the right to transfer it. That would be part of the contract you agreed you to when you bought the certificate.

[Another response is] to start secondary marketplaces which show how willing buyers can be matched with willing sellers to create a vibrant exchange of goods… oh, wait, that’s been started, and the monopolistic actor within the marketplace (the one that controls the majority of ticket sales, owns the vast majority of venues, and manages the vast majority of artists) has been using its corporate power to try and shut it down.

"Majority" is not "monopoly", even assuming "majority" is accurate. And again, if you don't want to agree to the terms of a service, don't buy the service. Don't come in with armed men and demand the terms be changed.

Actually, the appropriate response, when rights are being subverted, is to make an appeal to government, whose sole purpose is supposedly the protection and preservation of individual rights, to actually work to protect and defend those individual rights.

What rights? The right to someone else's service? That's no right I'm familiar with.

The fundamental argument has two fatal flaws: It conflates property with service, and demands that the government come in with guns to eliminate contract provisions you don't like.


You do understand that in order to “repeal” an existing law, you have to pass legislation (in other words, pass a new law), and that in many instances, this requires language directing agencies on how to act.

Sure. But again, laws restricting government or legislation repealing law are fundamentally different from laws restricting private individuals.

Bad, in part, because of the underlying motivations for which they were enacted. Absolutely, the fact that DC’s anti-shoeshine laws (more correctly termed “anti-bootblack” laws) were enacted during Jim Crow, and were enacted to prevent African-americans from opening up their own shoeshine/bootblack stands, was relevant.

I missed the important facet earlier - you're conflating government force with private action. This is a repeating error. (I clipped several paragraphs expanding on this point simply to save space)

Of course there is. My right to use that little piece of paper, just like any other piece of property I might buy.

It’s up to you, Jason, to explain to me how a ticket is not “property”. So far, you have been unable to do so.

Look, if you want to pay hundreds of dollars for little slips of paper I can hook you up with as many as you want. You're not buying the slip of paper, that slip of paper (or cardboard) could simply be a verbal promise or a name registrar. The ticket itself is simply a method to facilitate purchase. You are buying the chance to watch a performance of some kind. A performance is a service, matching up with the definitions at the sources I provided earlier of a service. A performance is not property.

A) There is no “voluntary co-operation” since one entity has co-opted the power of the state to eliminate competition and suppress the entry of firms into the marketplace. Were this “car leases” or “cell phone service” where I could simply shift to another dealer or cell phone carrier, you might have a point.

So your argument is that because only the NFL sells NFL tickets and only through one vendor, you can impose rules on how they sell them? Can you introduce price controls? Restrictions on how much can be sold at one time? What services they have to provide in addition to the game?

There are lots of brands that sell only through one vendor. So what?

Because the only other argument, that Ticketmaster controls all ticket sales to all events, is simply absurd.

B) And despite your protestations to the contrary, there is a property right at stake here (you haven’t demonstrated otherwise), and advocating for new rules to an individual rights is, ipso facto, not big government.

There's no property right to a service.

Ah, so now you’re raising a semantics argument. They’re not selling cars, they’re selling transportation. They’re not selling cell phones, they’re selling communication.

Well, no. It's not a semantics argument. Car dealers sell cars. Taxi drivers sell transportation. Cell phone companies sell both phones *and* communication, in that you can purchase a telephone and also subscribe to a service that connects it with other telephones.

Finding the principles behind things is often difficult, but when you want to pass legislation, that's where you have to start.

Yes, they’re selling entertainment. In order to facilitate the process of getting customers to see that entertainment, they sell these goods called “tickets”, essentially a piece of paper that says, “the bearer of this ticket is guaranteed to have this seat (or in the case of general admission tickets “a” seat) at this particular performance”.

Well, no. The ticket is part of the contract. "I give you money, you perform a thing". The ticket simply facilitates that exchange - "I give you money in advance, you give me a token that says I paid so I can get in faster and pay earlier."

Once that ticket leaves the hands of the seller of it, it’s mine. For me to do with as I see fit—to give it to someone else and even to sell it to someone else, at either a profit or a loss.

Ok, fine. You can do whatever you want with the paper. And the venue operator is also free to reject the ticket-holder if they didn't comply with the contract, or even contract with the venue operator in the first place. Somehow I doubt this satisfies you.

Except that’s not what you said, Jason. You were using the example of someone who bought a ticket via RyanAir, in the airline industry, where there are multiple options for air travel—and the airlines have a special interest in knowing the specific people who are sitting in that specific seat.

There are multiple options for entertainment too. There are probably more option for entertainment than there are for anything else. Well, except maybe food.

A) Because it’s not a contract. There’s no negotiation, no opportunity to look at competing contract terms. The “ticket as contract” is a legal fiction, created specifically so venue owners could use the power of government and (how did you put it?) send the police to enforce it.

"Adhesion contract" is actually a thing. In fact, it's defined as a contract with no negotiation: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/adhesion_contract_contract_of_adhesion .

Here're the basics on contracts: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/contract

One of the basic functions of government is to enforce contracts. That's a key reason the government exists. Quite frankly, if you don't understand the basics of contracts you should stay out of legislating it. Arguing that tickets are not contracts is akin to arguing the phlogiston theory of fire in a physics discussion.

You don't get to call me ignorant on this issue again. You are unaware of the basic concepts of law the govern here.

B) You’re selling me a ticket. A good. A piece of paper that grants me admission the venue and a seat within it (sometimes a specific seat, sometimes a general seat, sometimes a place on a lawn, sometimes a place to stand). It’s merely a way of facilitating that specific exchange.

Again wrong. The ticket does not itself grant anything. The ticket represents an agreement (contract) between a buyer and seller, that the buyer may receive a service (performance) in exchange for money. The ticket is, in effect, a receipt acknowledging payment. But the buyer is bound by the terms of the agreement (contract) he made when he bought the service. If part of that agreement is no-transfer, then the seller is fully within his rights under the contract to refuse the bearer admittance if the bearer is not the buyer/

C) To answer your question, like any other good that I have purchased, your future restrictions on how I use that property, or transfer it to someone else, are a violation of my property rights.

You (buyer) can do whatever you want with the paper. I (seller) don't have to honor it if you break the rules we agreed too.

Once again, Jason, you’re ignoring the 130 years of the law which venue owners have used to “send the men with guns” to prevent ticket resale.

But in this instance, you’re referring to one element—the issue of extra fees potentially imposed for ticket resale. Besides the fact that this is the 2nd of three elements to the law, what this is supposed to prevent is the de-facto restriction on transfers.

When was the last time you bought a ticket to something?

What? Not even remotely. The cost I was talking about was not attending the event. If there is no cost involved in ticket-reselling, yes, people will engage in it. But if people have to bear the cost of not attending a specific event, suddenly reselling becomes less important and people buy the ticket anyway.

And? We weren’t talking about the creation of inherent value (which, in the case of ticket sales is reflected in the initial market price for a ticket). We were talking about whether or not the fact that you are buying a ticket for a “service” in any way justifies a restriction on the transferability of the ticket for that service.

You’re trying to make the justification that because you’re going to ultimately receive a “service” for the exchange of that ticket, that this somehow allows the service provider to restrict who you can transfer that ticket to.

Restrict it only within the expectation that the ticket will be honored. Like I said in the initial post, it's not the paper you care about. It's the service.

But because the “ticket” is the intermediary between the service provider and the service receiver, the ticket itself becomes a “commodity” in the marketplace—like a gift certificate or any redeemable certificate for exchange.

Picture a charity auction, Jason. Invariably, there are gift certificates, tickets which will allow the bearer thereof to receive a service when it is redeemed. These gift certificates are, in many case, sold far above face value. But you’re somehow saying that this ought to be restricted?

No. I'm saying they can be. I'm not going to impose my opinion as to whether they should or not on anyone else.

(Incidentally, charity auctions are hugely impacted by restrictive ticketing. This is why non-profits across the country are deeply concerned by restrictive ticketing).

The appropriate option is to talk to the venue, not the government.

The “ticket as licence” or “ticket as contract” theory is a convenient fiction—a holdover of an era where venues were looking at legal reasoning to justify a host of protectionist rules, and to provide an additional safeguard in the issue of disputes over counterfeited tickets.

No, it's a holdover from property and contract rights. But as you demonstrated above, you don't understand contract law.

Yes, the free-market has provided great things like StubHub and the “Tickets for Sale” section of Craigslist, where I might be able to find tickets for below face value.

And if the event-holders accept those things, fine.

No, Ticketmaster just owns almost all of the major venues in the United States, sells almost all of the tickets to live performances, and manages almost all of the major artists in the United States (through their partner companies).

Really? Ticketmaster controls the major studios too? Are you sure they aren't the Illuminati?

So no, they’re not holding a gun to your head. They’re just in control of the industry, have used their power, money, and influence to gin the rules in their favor, and to try and destroy the secondary marketplace.

Classic crony capitalism.

No it isn't. You've never once even mentioned what laws exist that grant Ticketmaster special privileges.

No, the “exceptionally stupid argument” is that there’s some competitive marketplace in original-sale tickets.

Unlike just about any other “service” industry, Jason, there are multiple options for how I receive that service, and a real negotiation and competitive selection process can take place—so that if I want to buy gift certificate and am choosing between Vendors X and Y, I can actually compare and contrast what the two are offering.

The market is not in ticket sales. The market is in competing events. You can go to Wal-Mart, Target, 7-11 or anywhere else, but the gift cards from Subway (or anywhere else) they have on offer are going to be exactly the same, with the same prices, the same rules and the same service.

And that's even assuming that gift cards and tickets are equivalent goods.

Were the venue to have a vested interest in WHO was going to watch the performance, then you might have an argument—much in the same way that a landlord has a vested interest in who rents (or sublets) an apartment, because the landlord/property owner works diligently to ensure that the value of his or her property is not going to be undercut by leasing the property to the wrong person.
And I'm not going to support displacing the judgments of property owners as to what their interests are.

I see, so to rephrase, “Andrew, you’re wrong because… well… because you’re wrong.” Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Do Venue Owners do due diligence as to who they’re selling their tickets to? No. They just want that ticket sold as soon as that ticket is offered for sale. Period. End of story.

You do not think this is the case, then it is up to you to present your counterfactuals.

Property rights are not lost because the property owners or their agents do not enforce them to some level that you demand on a post-hoc basis. That's not the way property rights work

If the seller of the gift certificate had a "no-transfer" rule at the time of sale, yes, you would not have the right to transfer it. That would be part of the contract you agreed you to when you bought the certificate.

I see. So riddle me this, Jason: why are 99.999999% of gift certificates sold WITHOUT a “no-transfer” rule?

Because I have no interest in regulating them, I don't have to know. I can simply let the people who handle the gift-cards set their own rules.

But because you want to regulate ticket sales, you need to know at least as much, if not more, as the people you are regulating. (Another Libertarian concept, "Pretense of knowledge")

See above. The “armed men” are the ones that Ticketmaster has used to prevent ticket resale.

No, the "armed men" are enforcing contract law. You're the one proposing that they impose contract rules.

And your statement “even assuming ‘majority’ is accurate” is evidence that you simply haven’t done the research into the issue.

Does Ticketmaster control the sales to movie theaters? Theme Parks? Aquariums? You are restricting the "market" to "concerts and sports games", and I think that's fundamentally wrong.

I deleted the last bit, which rephrases arguments that you’ve erroneously used before. But I do note that you deleted two things: first, my question about how Ticketmaster is harmed by a non-Ticketmaster secondary marketplace, and second, my question in response to your making allegations as to my motive.
Contract rights are not dependent on concrete harm, that's another concept of contract law.

As for the motive, I doubt very much that your primary concern is a one-in-a-million chance that someone will have a family emergency at the same time as an event they planned on attending. Does it happen? Sure. But I remain skeptical that is the motivating factor here.


  1. A couple of things. First off, the author of this blog purposefully misidentifies me. I'm not _merely_ a "former RedMaryland" host (incidentally, Jason, I am both a former RedMaryland RADIO host, as well as a sometime-contributor to RedMaryland.com).

    As Jason knows, I run an advocacy organization called the Institute for Liberty - our email exchange took place via my IFL email account. More importantly, I've been working on these ticketing issues for more than three years, all around the country.

    Whether Jason omitted these two facts willfilly is something that is open to speculation - the point is, they're far more pertinent to the exchange than my association with RedMaryland (which, as I said on Facebook, seems to be the wellspring of Boisvert's opposition to SB 700).

    Second, and more important, this blog post by Jason is not how we agreed that our conversation would be reprinted in this blog. Boisvert said to me, in an email at 12:05 AM this morning that, "Btw, do you mind if I post our conversation to this point for tomorrow? I'd post the sections I sent, to avoid forcing people to read the same thing multiple times, and if you wanted to post yours, I'd link to it. I think it's of value."

    This is patently NOT posting "the sections [you] sent" - this is you selecting quotes out of context, and relitigating the points.

    All of these points that you raised in your blog were answered, extensively, in our colloquy. You promised to print that colloquy. You reneged in that promise.

    Says a great deal about you, your blog, and your commitment to accuracy and integrity.

  2. Actually, this is the response to the public column you posted to Facebook. I haven't been able to upload the email exchange, though I intend to.

    This was actually written and scheduled before we even began the email exchange, so calm down. I've been busy this morning and wasn't able to get it loaded. It will go up once I have time to finish my current response and get everything together.

    There's a reason I haven't plugged it anywhere yet.

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