by Mike Masnick
Tue, May 20th 2008 11:08pm
eBay subsidiary StubHub seems like a pretty straightforward concept: it's a marketplace for event ticket resales. It's a huge market, and it makes sense to have a platform for people to resell tickets they've legally bought. However, StubHub seems to keep getting attacked and finding itself in court. First there was Ticketmaster, which complained that StubHub was violating Ticketmaster's "exclusive" rights to selling tickets to certain venues. Then there was the New England Patriots who demanded the names of whoever sold tickets through StubHub in order to punish the ticketholders. Now, the city of Chicago is suing eBay and StubHub, claiming that it needs to collect a special city "amusement tax" on each ticket sold. This is a pure money grab. The original ticket buyer already paid that tax -- and even if you accept the idea that resales should also be taxed (which is pretty questionable), then it seems like something that the actual seller should be responsible for, rather than StubHub/eBay itself. But, don't tell that to Chicago politicians who see this as an easy way to hit up a big company for millions of dollars. If this sounds similar to the attempts to suddenly get Amazon to pay up in other states, that's because it is. Seems like local governments are looking for any way to squeeze companies for extra tax dollars, no matter how little sense it actually makes.
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