Bill targets ticket-grab software

When the 7,000 Carolina Panthers tickets available to the general public for each home game sell out fast, team officials can't help but suspect scalpers are using sophisticated computer software to gobble them up.

Panthers director of ticket sales and operations Phil Youtsey said there's no hard evidence of hacking.

“(But) it happens so quick that we sometimes wonder,” Youtsey said.

A bill in the North Carolina General Assembly that would legalize and tax Internet scalping also prohibits use of software that online ticket resellers use to hoard tickets. Upon acquiring large numbers of tickets, scalpers sell them online at inflated prices to patrons who want to attend games, concerts or other performances.

Such software is suspected of creating problems with online ticket sales for the Colorado Rockies' World Series games and Hannah Montana concerts last year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a federal judge last month ordered Pittsburgh-based software maker RMG Technologies Inc., to pay more than $18 million for creating software that allegedly gave brokers an unfair advantage buying tickets from Ticketmaster.

North Carolina's law allows venues to sue for unfair trade practices.

“The criminalization of the software packages, that's a great thing,” said Greensboro lawyer Jeff Peraldo. “Hopefully it will put a dent in it.”