It's impossible to make an unbreakable protection against this sort of thing. At best, you'll protect yourself against amateurs. My experience over the years is that most software packages actually have reduced the amount of protection. For instance, I haven't seen a hardware dongle in, oh, about 10 years. most programs just require a key-string to validate/install, and maybe check those keys when downloading updates etc.
Probably the "best" way to do this sort of thing nowadays is to require the software to do some kind of useful/vital task remotely - using your server - where you can check the license key and deny them access if they don't have a legitimate copy.
Depending on your intended market a well written license is probably a lot more effective though. Copyright law doesn't give people who sell unlicensed software much leeway, so you shouldn't be too worried about keeping out commercial crackers. Most legitimate companies and organisations prefer not to take too many risks with unlicensed copies.
As for people copying programs amongst themselves as a favor, I personally don't believe that the producers are very worried. I mean, almost every student I know who's into that kind of software has "illegal" copies of Photoshop/CS, Maya, AutoCAD and other pretty expensive software. The companies involved don't seem to suffer much from it. In fact, it probably works in their favour - when people go on to use that kind of software professionally, they're already used to their product, which means they'll probably buy Photoshop instead of Paint Shop Pro, for instance.
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