1993-02-26 - Re: Moral dilemma. (not really)

Header Data

From: gnu (John Gilmore)
To: Johan Helsingius <julf@penet.FI>
Message Hash: dd62bfd2b9eb60e2b0fc87667d3d7063f41c8b7c0309d5d26e5c45fbe9657f43
Message ID: <9302261042.AA18729@toad.com>
Reply To: <9302260807.aa01498@penet.penet.FI>
UTC Datetime: 1993-02-26 10:42:34 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 26 Feb 93 02:42:34 PST

Raw message

From: gnu (John Gilmore)
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 93 02:42:34 PST
To: Johan Helsingius <julf@penet.FI>
Subject: Re: Moral dilemma. (not really)
In-Reply-To: <9302260807.aa01498@penet.penet.FI>
Message-ID: <9302261042.AA18729@toad.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> This is ticket scalping, pure and simple (selling a ticket for higher
> than its value.  This is extremely illegal in the United States.  This
> is also a posting promoting a private enterprise for profit on the
> internet, extremely unethical.

This person, like most such complainers, is uninformed.  They are
taking advantage of your physical and informational distance from the
actual situation:

(1)  It's completely a matter of local law whether "ticket scalping"
is legal or not.  Many jurisdictions have no problem with businesses
investing in "ticket futures" in the hope that the price will rise.
In any case, it is not "extremely illegal".  Murder is "extremely illegal",
except when done on behalf of a government.  Scalping is a minor crime
when it's a crime at all -- like jaywalking.

(2) Promoting a private enterprise for profit on the Internet is
completely legal and ethical.  The Transatlantic link is certainly
open to commercial business.  Now, if they'd said "...on the Usenet"
then there would be guidelines to follow, which mostly include
sticking to the topic and not posting repetitive ads.  I think that a
single ticket ad in the Grateful Dead newsgroup is not out of line on
either count.  Especially given the number of people who end up looking
for tickets because of bogus Grateful Dead Ticket Service policies.

(3)  Individuals selling things in "garage sale" mode are exempt from any
ethical or moral Usenet/Internet restrictions on "commercial use" anyway.

> Furthermore, the people who are doing this are selling what are known
> as "taper tickets".  These tickets are only available through the
> Grateful Dead Ticket Service via mail order.  The reason GDTS does
> this is to help deter scalpers.

Scalping tickets is a perfectly legitimate business enterprise.
Scalping Grateful Dead tickets is even a commendable activity,
considering the hassles that the Dead scene puts you through to get
tickets.  Personally, I only go when some friend offers me tickets,
since it ain't worth the bullshit of tracking when to order (via
email list or polling their phone service), sending in money orders
within half a day of then, and following all the little regulations
about the size and shape of the envelope, etc.

A lot of places that have little `protected' markets like this, are going
to find out what a free market is like.  Good.