Live Nation / Ticketmaster Beats Antitrust Lawsuit

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decides fans forfeit right to sue because they purchased tickets

Funny Ticketmaster meme (Image: Reddit)

On Monday, a federal appeals court rejected an antitrust lawsuit accusing Ticketmaster and Live Nation of price gouging, ruling that concert goers forfeited their right to sue when they purchased tickets. 

In a 24-page ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an earlier ruling that dismissed the proposed class action, stating when the fans purchased their tickets, they had agreed to settle any disputes with Ticketmaster through private arbitration as opposed to an open court.

“At three independent stages — when creating an account, signing into an account, and completing a purchase — Ticketmaster and Live Nation webpage users are presented with a confirmation button above which text informs the user that, by clicking on this button, ‘you agree to our Terms of Use,’” Judge Danny J. Boggs wrote for a panel of three judges. “A reasonable user would have seen the notice and been able to locate the terms via hyperlink.”

The ruling came as a win for Live Nation and Ticketmaster, who are facing heat over their market power in the wake of the botched ticket rollout for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.

The incident, which saw widespread service delays and website crashes across the country, has prompted calls from lawmakers in Washington D.C. to break up Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which merged to create their current structure in 2010. It has also spawned investigations from attorneys general across the country, resulting in at least two antitrust class actions. 

The case decided on Monday was filed back in 2020, but it raised similar accusations to those angry over the Swift debacle. Aiming to represent “hundreds of thousands if not millions” of customers, the action alleged that Live Nation brazenly increased prices for consumers at will, accusing the company of performing “predatory acts” and calling the conglomerate a “monster” that “must be stopped.”

Taylor Swift The Eras Tour poster (Image: Taylor Swift)

But the case was quickly tossed out. A federal judge ruled in 2021 that Live Nation and Ticketmaster users had clearly adhered to a clickwrap agreement, which is a common online tool that presents users with terms of service before proceeding, thus requiring them to resolve claims against Live Nation via private arbitration.

Monday’s ruling upheld that decision for Live Nation, citing that the company “did enough” to appease the court.

“Appellees’ notice is conspicuously displayed directly above or below the action button at each of three independent stages that a user must complete before purchasing tickets,” Judge Boggs wrote for the court. “Crucially, the ‘Terms of Use’ hyperlink is conspicuously distinguished from the surrounding text in bright blue font, making its presence readily apparent.”

The ruling will effectively end the current case. However, a second similar lawsuit filed against Live Nation is still pending in a lower federal court.




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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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