|You first need to be absolutely sure the thing is worth the effort to protect because any protection scheme software or hardware has a cost and it isn't cheap.
Even just putting a software decrypt key that gets stored in the registry or a hidden file means you have a way to produce the keys in some sort of program. That means time and effort to develop the key release program and then physically handle requests by people for a key. It's all cost.
The physical hardware key solution suggested is not cheap either and not much more difficult to break than a software key. I can de-hasp a program in about 30min because it's dead easy to intercept the communication with the hasp plug with a special driver. Many of the pirates you refer too will be able to do the same.
Often you are better off just leaving a nag screen in for products that are low dollar and try and guilt the users into purchase.
There are two alternative marketing tricks
1.) Make the thing so big with graphics and the like that you need multiple DVD roms to distribute and makes torrenting the thing awkward. It becomes such a pain people just go and buy the disk it isn't worth the effort to pirate.
2.) Keep putting out frequent updates even if small, it keeps the pirates disinterested in it.
So are you sure the product is worth the effort?
In vino veritas