Yes, product activation is quite a nuisance, one of the reasons to use Win2k despite its many shortcomings compared to XP.
Microsoft is, as you say, Raven, very stingy. However, I did read a quote a while ago about product activation. Within minutes of XP's release (and I know for a fact, before, because my friend and his brother had it installed before XP was out in stores) the code was cracked. A Microsoft spokesperson said that their goal was to stop some people from piracy, and through Product Activation, they were able to do it.
I find it much harder to lie to a human being than to simply download a crack, so I guess it was an okay idea.
I often ponder about business ethics and have attended a few lectures on it, but it's always the same lecture; "be ethical." I'll put one here, just for the heck of it.
1) Your colleague rarely completes work assignments. You have been helping him finish the last two projects. You want him to stop asking you to help him because you have work of your own to do. What do you do?
Consider: your work relationship, your own job, and the fate of your colleague's family (yes, he has one).
Here's a true story that I won't type up, so i copied from this link: http://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/lawmcfall1.html
Robert McFall suffers from aplastic anemia, a disease in which the patient's bone marrow fails to manufacture certain necessary blood components. Shortly after his condition was diagnosed in June of 1978, a search began to find a bone marrow donor.
Transfusions of bone marrow require a high degree of compatibility between donor and recipient and McFall's relatives were tested first.
Initial tests of McFall's immediate family failed to produce a compatible donor, but preliminary tests of McFall's first cousin, David Shimp, indicated a high compatibility rating.
Shimp was scheduled for further testing during the third week of July but he failed to show up, stating later that his wife had urged him not to go through the procedure.
Running out of time and with no one else to turn to, McFall hired an attorney and filed suit, asking the court (Judge Flaherty presiding) for an injunction ordering Shimp to submit to the transfusion procedure.
2) If you were the Judge, how would you rule?