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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    wasnt me!, Sep 15th, 2008 @ 10:36pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Vincent Clement, Sep 16th, 2008 @ 5:35am

    Add anti-scalping laws to the pile of laws that don't work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2008 @ 6:17am

    Street Corner

    Do we issue a citation to the opera house if the scalper is standing on their sidewalk when he is arrested?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    F Lee, Sep 16th, 2008 @ 6:34am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2008 @ 7:34am

    Re: This Will Change

    Name one, just one, business that does not "facilitate possible crimes".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    James, Sep 16th, 2008 @ 9:22am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Pro, Sep 16th, 2008 @ 10:01am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Steve, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 4:15pm


    If scalping laws actually worked, I wouldn't have gotten $1600 for a $250 pair of Madonna tickets!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Kevin Busler, Oct 7th, 2008 @ 10:07am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    ColoradoJimH, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 6:51pm

    StubHub Sold Me Invalid Tickets

    Read about my story and others at:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Rob, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 10:48pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Dale Hammerly, Nov 22nd, 2008 @ 10:30am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Dale Hammerly, Nov 22nd, 2008 @ 10:36am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    EB, Nov 25th, 2008 @ 9:13am


    Stub hub told me someone else bought my tickets, then tried to tell me they menat I bought the tickets! It makes no sense! I'm out $334!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Bridget, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 10:56am


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    bob, Mar 14th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Stub Hub is a rip off!!

    How did you describe your seats? All you needed to do was to list the section and row number.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    kariann, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:37pm


    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    kariann agian, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:40pm

    btw i ment $50 lmaoo...n wow the yankee tickets even face value wnet uo alot this season

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Send Stub HubCeo to Jail, Apr 13th, 2009 @ 5:45pm

    I hope to god these rich f*cks trying to hardball like some thugs get shut down. Selling phish tickets for up $20,000 is so typical of the wealthy that try to control and exploit. I think stubhub should be shut down and their ceo and his associates should be incarcerated. If I had time I would sue them myself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    jamescityjohn, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 5:43pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:40pm

    Stubhub is to scalping what Napster use to be to file sharing, if Napster was shut down why hasnt stubhub been other than corporate interests being the victim in one case and the average person in the other.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Wake UP, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Mike Lawyer, Nov 10th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Laughs out loud, Dec 26th, 2009 @ 9:56am


    All these idiots on here complaining about scalpers... Wow! If you don't like it, then don't buy them. It's okay. Somebody else will. Scalping is just capitalism at work. If you don't like it, go to a communist country where the government does everything for you and there is no chance to succeed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Eric, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Laws Are NOT Written For The Populace, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:09pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Rocco NH, Mar 4th, 2011 @ 5:24am

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Re: Street Corner

    Does the opera house aid and abet said scalper?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Andrew Tilton, Apr 30th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Liars, cheaters and thieves...

    Where Do I Sign.
    We have to stop this Stubhub Bullshit.
    It is not Capitalism it is Ticket Scalping.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Andrew Tilton, Apr 30th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

    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 !!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Joe, Jun 8th, 2011 @ 5:00pm

    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 your logic, since I am not selling any drugs myself, I have committed no crime and you know that's b/s.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Michael, Oct 30th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Larrybud, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Street Corner

    If the Opera House is helping the seller sell them, and taking a cut, yes.

    That said, I don't think scalping should be illegal in any way shape, or form.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Larrybud, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: This Will Change

    If the sole purpose of the phone company was to call your bookie, then yes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Jane Emerson, Jan 28th, 2012 @ 6:59am

    Ticket Scalping

    This petition was started because of many customers' issues with having to purchase tickets from ticket scalping websites just to see their favorite concerts or sporting events. Please check it out and sign. ping

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Guy, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 3:53am

    Re: Street Corner

    No, because the Opera House doesn't get a commission from the scalper like StubHub does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Re: Street Corner

    You are a fucking idiot, you can't even make a correct comparison. The venue is not providing an avenue for this illegal activity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    S, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 9:48pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. icon
    Derrick Pohl (profile), Mar 10th, 2015 @ 10:32pm


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    delysid (profile), Mar 10th, 2015 @ 10:59pm

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    John, Mar 24th, 2015 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Stub Hub Scalping Tickets

    Bro, yer house burned down, its not StubHubs fault. If they were hard tickets then Stubhub fulfilled its obligation and got you the tickets. Its not Stubhub's fault if you lose them, sell them, someone steals them or they get burnt up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Iconoclasm, Dec 4th, 2015 @ 8:45am

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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