(a) Conduct prohibited
(1) In general
Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person–
Terms Used In 15 USC 45c
- Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
- Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
- Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
- Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- officer: includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office. See 1 USC 1
- Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
- Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
- Venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
- writing: includes printing and typewriting and reproductions of visual symbols by photographing, multigraphing, mimeographing, manifolding, or otherwise. See 1 USC 1
(A) to circumvent a security measure, access control system, or other technological control or measure on an Internet website or online service that is used by the ticket issuer to enforce posted event ticket purchasing limits or to maintain the integrity of posted online ticket purchasing order rules; or
(B) to sell or offer to sell any event ticket in interstate commerce obtained in violation of subparagraph (A) if the person selling or offering to sell the ticket either–
(i) participated directly in or had the ability to control the conduct in violation of subparagraph (A); or
(ii) knew or should have known that the event ticket was acquired in violation of subparagraph (A).
It shall not be unlawful under this section for a person to create or use any computer software or system–
(A) to investigate, or further the enforcement or defense, of any alleged violation of this section or other statute or regulation; or
(B) to engage in research necessary to identify and analyze flaws and vulnerabilities of measures, systems, or controls described in paragraph (1)(A), if these research activities are conducted to advance the state of knowledge in the field of computer system security or to assist in the development of computer security product.
(b) Enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission
(1) Unfair or deceptive acts or practices
A violation of subsection (a) shall be treated as a violation of a rule defining an unfair or a deceptive act or practice under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)).
(2) Powers of Commission
(A) In general
The Commission shall enforce this section in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated into and made a part of this section.
(B) Privileges and immunities
Any person who violates subsection (a) shall be subject to the penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.).
(C) Authority preserved
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Federal Trade Commission under any other provision of law.
(c) Enforcement by States
(1) In general
In any case in which the attorney general of a State has reason to believe that an interest of the residents of the State has been or is threatened or adversely affected by the engagement of any person subject to subsection (a) in a practice that violates such subsection, the attorney general of the State may, as parens patriae, bring a civil action on behalf of the residents of the State in an appropriate district court of the United States–
(A) to enjoin further violation of such subsection by such person;
(B) to compel compliance with such subsection; and
(C) to obtain damages, restitution, or other compensation on behalf of such residents.
(2) Rights of Federal Trade Commission
(A) Notice to Federal Trade Commission
(i) In general
Except as provided in clause (iii), the attorney general of a State shall notify the Commission in writing that the attorney general intends to bring a civil action under paragraph (1) not later than 10 days before initiating the civil action.
The notification required by clause (i) with respect to a civil action shall include a copy of the complaint to be filed to initiate the civil action.
If it is not feasible for the attorney general of a State to provide the notification required by clause (i) before initiating a civil action under paragraph (1), the attorney general shall notify the Commission immediately upon instituting the civil action.
(B) Intervention by Federal Trade Commission
The Commission may–
(i) intervene in any civil action brought by the attorney general of a State under paragraph (1); and
(ii) upon intervening–
(I) be heard on all matters arising in the civil action; and
(II) file petitions for appeal of a decision in the civil action.
(3) Investigatory powers
Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prevent the attorney general of a State from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by the laws of the State to conduct investigations, to administer oaths or affirmations, or to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of documentary or other evidence.
(4) Preemptive action by Federal Trade Commission
If the Commission institutes a civil action or an administrative action with respect to a violation of subsection (a), the attorney general of a State may not, during the pendency of such action, bring a civil action under paragraph (1) against any defendant named in the complaint of the Commission for the violation with respect to which the Commission instituted such action.
(5) Venue; service of process
Any action brought under paragraph (1) may be brought in–
(i) the district court of the United States that meets applicable requirements relating to venue under section 1391 of title 28; or
(ii) another court of competent jurisdiction.
(B) Service of process
In an action brought under paragraph (1), process may be served in any district in which the defendant–
(i) is an inhabitant; or
(ii) may be found.
(6) Actions by other State officials
(A) In general
In addition to civil actions brought by attorneys general under paragraph (1), any other consumer protection officer of a State who is authorized by the State to do so may bring a civil action under paragraph (1), subject to the same requirements and limitations that apply under this subsection to civil actions brought by attorneys general.
(B) Savings provision
Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prohibit an authorized official of a State from initiating or continuing any proceeding in a court of the State for a violation of any civil or criminal law of the State.