ShowLicense.com - Digital License Plate repository for publicliy displayed media

A division of Karaosoft.




Digital License Plating explained

Digital License Plating is a technology to help combat the piracy problem in the karaoke industry.  In the digital music world, companies like Apple have addressed piracy problem with encryption and other methods that can still be bypassed, but Apple has learned that the average listener won't go through the hassle every time a new song comes out.  Listeners have no problem forking out 99 cents here and there to get a new song, so the encryption method works.  In the DJ world, it's a different story.  The DJ believes he or she needs every possible song that anyone could request.  The streaming model will never be a perfect fit for DJs, because it also never addesses the issue of ownership that DJs have always prided themselves.  DJs own their equipment and they take pride in it.  They are competing against other DJs.  What you own and how much you own is at the core of the DJ mentality in a lot of ways.  Who wants to "rent" a library of songs for their entire DJ career and then have nothing to show for it when you retire?  The problem is, with fast SSD drives, a DJs entire career of music purchases can be copied under his/her nose during a show by someone hired to help.  It's basically understood these days that DJs carry a ton of songs they never paid for, and the music industry looks the other way, because in their eyes, their real money comes from the millions of listeners who pay the 99 cents per song.  I think they view DJs as simply free promoters of their goods, so why not let them have their free music collections.  It's a tiny grain in the bucket of money they're making off the average listener.  The same goes for music videos.  The publishers view them as a tool to sell more records or videos via iTunes and others.

Where the piracy problem is still an actual problem, is the karaoke industry.  The average karaoke singer sings in public.  The joy of singing karaoke in a public place with a multi-thousand watt sound system is something you just can't bring home.  There are a some people who have nice karaoke systems at home, but they are the exception and not the rule.   People just aren't buying karaoke tracks by the millions, and so karaoke manufacturers are heavily reliant on KJs to pay their share, but just like with regular music, karaoke tracks are just too easily copied from hard drive to hard drive, and no one knows who paid for them.  That's about to change.

Digital license plating works on the exact same principle that makes license plates work for motor vehicles.  You stamp a unique number on an object that can be traced back to the owner, and by doing so, you discourage theft (and other things).  The one factor that makes this work is the fact that cars cannot be easily hidden, and to hide them defeats their purpose.  Someone can't even steal a car and remove the license plate because it's simply understood that all cars have to have them, so any car without license plates stands out like a red flag.  The same holds true for karaoke tracks.  They are displayed in public and that is their achilles heal in the piracy equation.  Crowds (or at least the singers) can see the license number on the track their singing and the KJ playing that track will know it.   Would you as a KJ take and use a track that the entire crowd could lookup and see that you didn't own it?  With the music, the crowd can suspect, but never actually know.  With license plating, there's no question, and with karaoke tracks there is always the display component that will have the license.


Sample MP3+G CDG frame with a license plate  (4x original size)


KJs who purchase these tracks can rest assured that if anyone steals their tracks, they won't be able to display them publicly without at least someone knowing they didn't pay for them.  Just like a car, any tracks without the license plate will appear awfully suspicious, and just like a car, will either look like junk or stolen.

The image above is just a sample, but once the system is setup, each downloaded track will have it's own individual license number.  For example, the very first licensed track will have license number 1, so the URL shown at the bottom of the track will be


and when someone goes to that URL, they will see a page displaying the license info.  Something like...

License Number: 1
Licensee: Robert Latshaw
Location:  Sparks, MD
Title: Happy Birthday To You
Artist:  Patty Hill
TrackID:  LR0001
Year Produced: 2019
Media Type:  MP3+G Karaoke
Producer:  Loch Raven Studios
Publishing Rights holder:  NONE (Public Domain)