An Italian court has dismissed an appeal by Switzerland-based secondary ticket seller viagogo fined EUR 3.7 million (approximately $ 4.5 million) for hosting tickets that were sold in violation of Italian law .
The ruling, handed down by the Lazio Regional Administrative Court earlier this month, upholds a 2020 decision by the Italian communications regulator, AGCOM, that Viagogo used to list tickets for 37 events with an over-par value between March and July 2019 was sanctioned.
Today’s news is the latest blow to viagogo worldwide after it was revealed in February that the company is being forced to sell all of StubHub’s business outside of North America due to competition concerns from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
viagogo acquired eBay’s StubHub ticket division for $ 4.05 billion in cash in February 2020. An investigation carried out by the CMA found that the proposed merger between the two companies “will lead to a significant reduction in competition in the UK secondary card market”. .
The 2017 Italian Budget Law provides that tickets for entertainment events can only be sold by authorized ticket providers in Italy.
However, consumers are allowed to sell unwanted tickets at face value or less.
Viagogo argued in court that it was acting as a “passive hosting provider” by connecting resellers with potential buyers.
If found true in court, it would release the resale platform from liability under Italian law transposing the E-Commerce Directive. Viagogo’s argument was rejected.
The court found that viagogo offers a range of services and advertises and advertises tickets in a way that it cannot be presumed to play a passive role in buying and selling tickets on its platform.
“Viagogo’s service … clearly does not have the characteristics of passive hosting.”
The Court found: “The service provided by viagogo… clearly does not have the characteristics of passive hosting as it clearly does not consist in the mere ‘storage of information’ but in the articulated activities of optimizing and promoting those for sale Title….
“The complainant has in no way justified the assertion that such complex activities are carried out by the platform fully automatically and without knowledge and / or control.”
“Unlimited secondary marketplaces like Viagogo have long protected under the exemption of EU law by claiming to have little or no knowledge of the activity on their sites.”
Sam Shemtob, FEAT director
FEAT Director Sam Shemtob said, “Unlimited secondary markets like Viagogo have long protected the exemption from liability under EU law by claiming to have little or no knowledge of the activity at their locations.
“It is time they were held responsible for the illegal activities they promote and benefit from both in Italy and across Europe.”
Elsewhere, in December 2019, the UK Competition and Markets Authority launched a Phase 1 investigation into Viagogo’s proposed $ 4.05 billion acquisition of eBay’s StubHub ticket division.
After completing an initial Phase 1 investigation into the merger, in June 2020 the CMA raised concerns about the loss of competition in the country’s secondary ticketing sector that the merger could create.Music business worldwide