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Ticketmaster agrees to $10 million fine for hacking into rival

2020-12-31 11:22 by
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Ticketmaster agreed to pay a $10-million fine to escape prosecution over criminal charges accusing the company of hacking into the computer system of a startup rival.

Ticketmaster employees used stolen passwords to access Songkick's systems to "unlawfully collect business intelligence," said Seth DuCharme, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The tactic was also promoted at a Ticketmaster summit for employees, the Justice Department said.

Court papers accused Ticketmaster of trying to infiltrate systems created by Songkick for artists that had hired the startup to help sell up to 10% of seats for U.S. tours directly through their fan clubs. The arrangement was seen as a way to reward loyal fans while thwarting scalpers — and also something that could cut into profits for the Ticketmaster empire.

Songkick allows artists to sell pre-sale tickets ahead of general ticket sales, and the unnamed employee was also accused of sharing URLs that led to drafts of those ticketing pages. A Ticketmaster executive wanted the company aimed to "choke off" its competitor and "steal back one of [its] signature clients," the prosecution wrote.

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