Ticketmaster pays a $ 10 million fine for hacking fees

Ticketmaster agreed to pay a fine of $ 10 million (approximately rupees 73 million) to avoid prosecution on a criminal charge accusing the company of getting into a startup rival’s computer system having hacked.

A federal judge in New York City signed the deal in a longstanding legal battle that challenged Ticketmaster’s dominance over ticket sales for concerts by major music acts. Live Nation’s subsidiary has faced multiple conspiracy charges to commit hacking and cable fraud against a Brooklyn-based company called Songkick.

Ticketmaster had already paid $ 110 million (approximately 800 million rupees) in 2018 to resolve a civil lawsuit filed by Songkick.

Court files accused Ticketmaster of attempting to infiltrate systems developed by Songkick for artists that the startup hired to sell up to 10 percent of US tour seats directly through their fan clubs. The arrangement was seen as a way to reward loyal fans while thwarting scalpers, and also as something that could diminish profits for the Ticketmaster empire.

Ticketmaster employees “have repeatedly – and illegally – accessed a competitor’s computer with stolen passwords without authorization in order to illegally gather potential business information,” said acting US attorney Seth DuCharme.

A statement from Ticketmaster on Wednesday said the conduct involved only two employees, who were laid off in 2017.

“Your actions violated our company guidelines and contradicted our values,” the statement said. “We are pleased that this matter is now resolved.”

Messages were left with Warner Music Group, the current owner of Songkick.

The program, developed in 2014 by a former Songkick employee who joined Ticketmaster and a local employee, attempted to hack accounts to identify Songkick’s customers and dissuade them from doing business with the company they shared Prosecutors in court files with.

In internal communications, one of the employees could boast that Ticketmaster could “cut the victim company on the knees” if it could win back the pre-sale ticketing business for a nameless major artist, the newspapers say.

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