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25.02.12

Documentary on secondary ticket market aired after Viagogo fails to secure injunction

Channel 4 went ahead and screened a Dispatches documentary on the "secondary ticket market" on Thursday 22 February 2012 after Viagogo failed to secure an injunction in the High Court earlier in the day.  Viagogo sought to appeal the decision, but permission to appeal was refused by the Master of the Rolls shortly before the programme was broadcast.

The documentary focused on the activities of online ticket exchanges and, inter alia, made claims Viagogo's depiction of itself as a fan-to-fan exchange and not a primary ticket seller was inaccurate.  The programme included footage of an undercover journalist working at Viagogo.  The programme maker Hardcash said that the footage established that the majority of tickets offered for sale through Viagogo were not from individual fans but from large-scale professional ticket resellers and concert promoters.

Viagogo, which claims to be Europes largest ticket exchange, sought an injunction to prohibit the disclosure of information about specific business arrangements and relationships which they said had been obtained in breach of confidence by the undercover reporter who had gained employment at the company.  Applying section 12(3) of the Human Rights Act 1998, Mr Justice Hildyard in the High Court refused Viagogos injunction application on the grounds that he was not satisfied that Viagogo would succeed at trial in showing that the information was confidential in nature and that, in any event, there was a clear public interest in correcting a false image put forward to the public (the programme suggested that Viagogo had engaged in misleading practices contrary to consumer legislation).  Hildyard J also considered that the claim was likely to be a libel action in disguise.

Lord Neuberger MR refused leave to appeal on the basis that Viagogo had not sought the injunction promptly, that he was not satisfied it could provide a sufficient cross-undertaking for damages and because Hildyard J had approached the question with great care and was more than entitled to reach the views he did.


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