Hate that ticket bots robbed you of a chance to see that big concert or musical? So does Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Hamilton author is teaming up with Senator Charles Schumer to promote a proposed federal bill, the Better Online Ticket Sales Act (BOTS Act, geddit?), that would fine bot users $16,000 for every ticket they sell. That’s far harsher than in Schumer’s own New York state, where a recently passed law tops out at a $1,000 total fine and no more than a year in prison. Miranda is coming aboard as proof that these bots can do real damage — scalpers made roughly $15.5 million from Hamilton alone, and jacked prices from $189 to as much as $2,000. It’d also start a task force that would detect these bootleggers.
As the star explained at a press conference, a bill like this is likely necessary. There’s “no disincentive” for bot owners right now, and it’s “not fair” to shut out the majority of people who can’t afford to pay outrageous rates to see a show. That’s especially true for a show like Hamilton, he says, since the bots are excluding the common Americans that the musical is trying to reach.
The celebrity move isn’t exactly subtle, but it could be important. While Schumer’s bill is bipartisan, he’s introducing it in September — right at the height of the presidential election frenzy. Miranda might just make the bill stand out amidst the noise and give it a better chance of becoming law.