Is Stubhub Guilty Of Violating Anti-Scalping Laws? Not This Time…

from the unsettled-law dept

We’ve seen a few different lawsuits involving ticket reselling website Stubhub (owned by eBay). Last year, you may remember, a court forced Stubhub to hand over the identity of sellers of New England Patriots’ tickets, despite the fact that Stubhub’s terms of service protect users’ privacy. One of the big questions brought up by various lawsuits is whether or not Stubhub is guilty of violating various anti-scalping laws. It seems like it would be clear that Stubhub, as the platform provider, is not liable and is protected by Section 230 of the CDA. And, in fact, that’s what a court has just found, dismissing a complaint against Stubhub. However, as Eric Goldman notes at that link, this seems to contradict with at least one other ruling against Stubhub — meaning that this is hardly settled law, and we should expect to see a bunch more lawsuits along these lines pop up before this gets worked out.

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Companies: ebay, stubhub

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Comments on “Is Stubhub Guilty Of Violating Anti-Scalping Laws? Not This Time…”

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wasnt me! says:

if memory serves correctly same thing is/was happening with media available online.

most if not all earlier cases the judges were ruling in favor of the IAAs, but as time progress’ judges are having a better grasp of the DMCA and sites the histing sites are being found NOT guilty. Granted its unfortunate that its taking so many bad rulings but at least its getting there.

F Lee says:

This Will Change

The concept of platform providers somehow being free of responsibility in cases like this will be successfully challenged at some point in the near future. Stubhub exists for one reason – the sale of event tickets. The idea that they are just a platform doesn’t wash. The business model is built on facilitating the transfer of property from one entity to another and the only reason Stubhub was cleared of the scalping charge this time is because the CDA is in place and that was not being challenged.

Craigslist is another site that has been repeatedly challenged for crimes that have been committed by users of the site. They may have a safe harbor now, but the concept of no responsibility will change. It will take a major case to come before the SCOTUS but when it does, sites will no longer be able to hide behind the “platform” defense because their business model is facilitating possible crimes.

James says:

Re: This Will Change

Its unlikely this will change Craigslist and Ebay, for example, cannot and should not generally be held accountable for the actions of their users and can also generally be shown to have greater purposes than just allowing scammers to try to illegally profit off of a concert ticket.

Stubhub, on other hand, I’m not sure has ANY other purpose and one could argue should be investigated for such. I think ticket scalping should be illegal and pursued but it does show that the market is willing to pay (however begrudgingly) that much for such items.

If folks will just wake up and REFUSE to EVER buy tickets at such prices tickets scalpers would not be able to exist…. well except for TicketBastard…. they’re fees are akin to scalping but thats another issue.

Pro says:

Re: This Will Change

You’ve got to be in law, because this is the kind of backward assed thought process that is rampant in the country these days. I used to call a bookie and place bets on the phone. Does that mean the phone system facilitates illegal activity?

Beyond F Lee’s lunacy, is the deeper issue of how can scalping possibly be illegal in the first place. Every item in the world has a value that can be modified by supply and demand. If someone is willing to pay $1000 for something, how can the price stay artificially deflated to $50? All the system does is create a black market.

So to correct your logic F Lee, It’s scalping laws that facilitate possible crimes, and should be eliminated.

Kevin Busler says:

Stub Hub Scalping Tickets

CONCERT TICKET BUYERS BEWARE, do not do business at all with Stub Hub if you need any kind of event tickets including sports events. They are owned by EBay and apparently they don’t care at all about their customers. I bought tickets to a Black Crowes Concert that is not until November 14th 2008. I purchase two tickets from Stub Hub over two months ago. Unfortunately our house burned down and was a total loss. The tickets I had purchased and everything else we owned was lost. I contacted Stub Hub to simply get replacement tickets and was told on several occasions that they could NOT replace the tickets or refund my money. Now I paid $326.55 for two tickets that had a face value of $45 per ticket and Stub Hub will do nothing at all to help me. This company scalping tickets online and should be illegal at the very least. Anyone with any information regarding this company please contact me at my email address, because I will be investigating this company thoroughly including contacting their local States Attorney. My email address is This is straight up fraud and I will be sure to warn anyone wanting to buy event tickets to be sure they DO NOT do business with Stub Hub.

Rob says:

Liars, cheaters and thieves...

If stubhub can’t be held responsible then the sellers should be…
Many things bother me about this, first they advertise with all major sporting venues, teams, and media outlets which helps them immensely with being exposed.
It bothers me if I go to ESPN and click on schedule… get tickets it sends me to StubHub and not the primary vendor of tickets.
It bothers me that tickets are purchased and sold by brokers and the regular fan has to pay a premium.
It bothers me that the seller gets hit with a large commision and the buyer pays a large commision…
If you find tickets for 100, you pay 125 the seller gets 75. Quite a scam they have going.
I can go on and on but Im just venting.
Good Luck and I hope they get what they deserve.

Dale Hammerly says:

Re: Liars, cheaters and thieves...

Come on Guys we all need to ban together to shut them down.
Call or e-mail all your friends to contact the professional sports offices that we won’t take this lying down. I tried to get tickets to the Seahawks game last Aug. And one minute past the hour when they started selling they were all sold out. But guess what you could buy anything off of Stub Hub.
There is power in numbers. I propose we start a group to fight this.

Dale Hammerly says:

Stub Hub is a rip off!!

Any one who uses Stub HUB is asking for trouble.
I was a victom of their unfair business practises.
I had just sold a pair of tickets to the Wash-Giants game Nov. 30th because I could not go.
Now when you sell tickets they say you are responsible providing the right ones. Which I did.
Well the buyer didn’t like them because they were not the best of seats. And according to Sub Hub since they were rejected and I “should” have decribe the seating better I would be responsible for the 276.00 extra charges for the nicer seats. And now I see a 276.00 charge on my credit card. A rip off? I should say so.
So I say no one should do business with the likes of Stub Hub. I will be contacting the FTC,The Attorney general and Fox news about this.
and anyone who wishes to contact me to start a grass roots organization to get rid of them are free to do so.

Bridget says:


I just purchased ticket from StubHub and boy did I get taken. I wouldn’t mind buying them IF they had posted the actual value. The same tickets were available on Ticketmaster for half the price, but I wanted better seats and assumed (wrongly) that the 2x value I was paying at StubHub would be better seating. It is hard to tell from the little theater diagram just how good seats are. I was stunned when they came in the mail and I realized I passed up the same seats from Ticketmaster. Aargh.

kariann (user link) says:


okay how is stub hub no different from scalping tickets!!!
i meen no one can ejoy a damm game ne more…
the yabkees season jus started and they put the tickets on sale but within 45 minutes they were all sold out becuse pppl on STUBHUB are buying them in bulk and then selling them for outragely nore moneythan there worth..see now we cant go to the yankee vender n buy 50 ticks n now we have to go on stub hub and buy the same tickets 4 like 500 dollars a piece!!
basbeball should b able to b enjoyed by all types of fans not just the ones who have alot of can we enjoy a game when the tickets are this expensive..its just like scalping expet they can do it from there own home..When my father went to his first yankee game he found a guy on the side who scalped him some seat for 10 dollars more than face price now thts not terrible but isnt that the same as stubhub…expet this guy was extemely nervous and made my dad pay not in front of where they were taking the tickets because he was so afriad of being caught o0ogosh lmaoo

jus sayiin….wanted 2 vent some lmaoo

jamescityjohn says:

Don't be fooled

As an experienced person who is unable to afford the regular game prices it amazes me that companies like stub hub continue to grow. The fact that every Major League and most NFL team site provide links to these crooks is amazing, Here is the best free advice I can offer you and agin this has gotten me into the biggest events around inclusing playoffs, world series, and even the Super Bowl twice. Decide when you want to go. Look to see if tickets are available and if not research how much seats cost from the best to the worst when they were available. Then make your plans, go to the city where the game is and go to the event on the day of the game. Wait until it is just about time for kick off, first pitch, drop of the puck, tip off, gentleman start your engines whatever the story and then hunt down tickets. Nobody wants to be left with a pocketful of tickets when they can have cash instead and they are in no position to bargain. They have made their money 50 times over by this time and this is just pure profit coming in so no sale less profit. For example I told my wifes friend about this strategy and she went with another friend up to Yankee Stadium for the Pre-Season game on Friday against the Cubs. Stub Hub was selling tickets in the bleachers for $150 and up. Sh waited until she heard the National Anthem start and then walked around the stadium and got Field Boxes by first base 11 rows back for $25. She asked the people around her how much they paid for their seats and one couple spent nearly $2000 dollars to sit there. It was practice folks. Anyway this works and will continue to work as long as supply, demand, and panic that you will be shut out continues to happen. Relax and enjoy.

Wake UP says:

Capitalism...and your standard of living

You baffoons who are so pissed off amaze me. It’s funny you’d call selling an item at a price the market will bear “scalping”. If the price is truly too high, no one will buy it. If it is selling at that price, break open your wallet & pay, or come up with a better idea to reduce your cost.

This is capitalism folks, and while not perfect, it is the reason we have extra money to go to concerts, we have leisure time to gripe online, and our “poor” have satellite tv.

Laws Are NOT Written For The Populace says:

Re: Capitalism...and your standard of living

To the pricks who believe middlemen deserve up to 300% profit for doing nothing (save exploiting faulty laws) in the name of “the market”, I submit as evidence our current economic crisis. The middlemen (banks, real estate industry, etc) earn huge profits on the backs of the homeowners and destroy the seemingly immutable source of our people’s economic stability: houses appreciate in value over time. They did not technically break laws because there were no laws, and it has been demonstrated they concertedly participated in price inflation which, caused the current debacle. This is free market. The extraordinarily price inflation is what the market would bear. Isn’t this a good thing? Isn’t our economy stronger as a result?

If a person can click a website with intent to buy a $50 ticket to sell it for $250, they add nothing to its value. (thus skewing the relationship between price and value). Because the consumer can not now click on the original website, this becomes an issue of OBVIOUS control and exploitation. Of course Joe Schmo will pay the bloated price, but only because he has been denied any other access. This is another clear example of our government’s theme: laws written, interpreted and enforced not to protect the people, but protect the industry which writes them, (could the spirit of the anti-scalping laws be more clear?), but to divert more cash flow to the already wealthy.

Andrew Tilton says:

Re: Capitalism...and your standard of living

I think you need to look up the definition of Capitalism,
then you can re-phrase your comments. The market defines the market value, (what people are willing to pay) not the seller (what people Have to pay) Your definition of Capitalism is what is wrong with the World today !!

Mike Lawyer (user link) says:

Of course it's ticket scalping!

StubHub takes tickets, holds tickets, distributes tickets – of course it is ticket scalping. This isn’t the phone company having a platform for activity to take place. StubHub is the central connection that makes all of this possible, being involved from beginning to end. Craig’s List, on the other hand, does not physically hold tickets, does not guarantee the authenticity of tickets, etc.

The fact that the founders and others made money off of this illicit enterprise reflects a great deal of what is wrong with America. People selling their Yankees tickets are prosecuted if they do so on eBay but not on StubHub – and why is that? If the conduct is illegal on eBay, it has to be illegal on StubHub. The difference is only who is getting a cut of the action and one wonders how this enterprise was able to escape scrutiny for this long.

Eric (profile) says:

Ticket scalping through Stub Hub

It’s really sicking to not even be given the chance to buy tickets in a good location (of say a concert) without having to pay ridiculous amounts of money to a ticket scalper. I really don’t understand how this practice is legal. Pretty much the moment you find out about a concert opening up, Stub Hub or other online “services” swoop in and buy a bunch of them up. The best part… the people are paying money to see the star or stars on stage, and instead, these legalized scalpers end up getting more money than them. Love to see these “services” become illegal and end up going bankrupt… it’d serve them right, because all they are doing is stealing money. They aren’t providing ANYTHING.

Rocco NH says:

Stub Hub IS Ticket Scalping

I wanted to surprise my wife with good tickets to a Keith Urban Concert, our first concert in like 14 years and heard of Stub hub. Maybe I’m just out of practice so when I bought my tickets for over $300.00 for two premo seats, I thought that is what they were worth. Fact is the tickets face value is only 77.00 each. I can’t believe, me, cautious boy from the Bronx got taken!!! If I bought two tickets and went to sell them for that…I would be arrested fro Scalping Tickets! Not only will I not EVER use Stub Hub again, but I will unfortunately not go to another concert for a long time. So much for trying to do good for my beautiful wife! Honesty and intergrity is dead in this country I don’t know why I bother to look for hope in hopelessness!

Joe says:

Sign me up; SH should be illegal for sure. One poster above put it best – if I sell my tix on ebay, I will be fined….if I sell them through SH, no problem.

To the people who say SH is not facilitating the crime – I’ll start a website just for selling drugs. I get 10% of any sale….by your logic, since I am not selling any drugs myself, I have committed no crime and you know that’s b/s.

Michael says:

Stub Hub is guilty

Austin City Limits is a huge annual music festival down here in Austin which goes on for three days in September or October any given year. Three day passes are 200 but sell out almost a year in advance. Stub Hub, however, has 301 of these said passes on sale starting at 267.

Scalping is defined as buying a ticket early, then exploiting the limited supply and selling the ticket for profit. It’s 50 weeks left until next ACL and there’s already people selling tickets for almost 70 more than they are originally worth. How is this not scalping?

S says:

Ticket scalping

Just a quick note here. Stub Hub does not own the tickets they sell. The people that buy the tickets originally own them. Stub Hub just advertises, collects the money, & delivers for the seller. For this service they collect a fee from the buyer & seller. They are the authorized ticket reseller for many sports teams. I think most MLB season ticket holders have a StubHub account available to sell their extra tickets throughout the year. We have baseball season tickets & it’s the case w/us. We pay less than box office for full season tickets, so usually we are selling them for less than regular walk-up price wiuld be when we sell. What should be illegal is large brokers being allowed to purchase huge quantities of tickets to events with the sole purpose being to make a profit. That is what artificially inflates prices much of the time.
Btw – there are very few actual scalping laws on the books. Only a few states have specific laws against it. Short of not being able to scalp @ the actual venue, it’s perfectly legal a lot of the time.

Derrick Pohl (profile) says:


Ticket scalping is not capitalism & certainly no kind of free market. It’s an anti-competitive scam — cornering the market in something & then arbitrarily jacking up the price, when there are no other providers & buyers have no other options, is the very opposite of a free market. So much so it’s illegal in capitalist countries. A monopoly if one company, a cartel if several conspiring to soak buyers by artificially manipulating supply & demand.

It’s anti-capitalist, corrupt, ethically wrong at a level comprehensible by a 5-year-old.

delysid (profile) says:

Ticket scalping is not capitalism & certainly no kind of free market. It’s an anti-competitive scam — cornering the market in something & then arbitrarily jacking up the price, when there are no other providers & buyers have no other options, is the very opposite of a free market. So much so it’s illegal in capitalist countries. A monopoly if one company, a cartel if several conspiring to soak buyers by artificially manipulating supply & demand.

It’s anti-capitalist, corrupt, ethically wrong at a level comprehensible by a 5-year-old

Iconoclasm says:

Stub Hub Scalping

Ya know, I wouldn’t mind it so much if they were even doubling up on the ticket scalping they are doing, but when I see tickets that the venue was selling for $59.00 and they wand over a thousand for them, that’s just flat out criminal, and should be illegal. With all the stupid laws we have put on the books on a daily basis, why is there not one for this outright thievery?

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