I totally agree about hardware locking, but it looks like you have a choice. I just looked at audioease's website and they offer a software solution choice as well:
An Altiverb Authorization can be stored on your computer (via challenge/response) or on an iLok smart Key USB dongle. Both methods authorize your machine right away, there's no waiting. The authorization process is designed such that you will be guided through it step by step. The iLok smart key enables you to carry many of your authorizations with you wherever you go using a single key. It's portable, iLok enables you to easily move authorizations from one computer to another. Use your software at home, at the office, at a studio, or at a friend's house.
Run the Altiverb installer application from your CD-Rom or from your download. It will guide you through the authorization process step by step. At a certain point you will need a computer connected to the internet, but it does not have to be your Altiverb computer.
1. Authorizing using the iLok Smart Key
Authorizations are stored in the safe, secure iLok - not on a computer or hard drive. iLok is immune to problems caused by machine upgrades, disk maintenance, hardware failures, and software updates.
iLoks can be purchased at www.iLok.com, or www.digidesign.com.
Audio Ease will swiftly supply new authorizations for broken or lost iLok dongles. Altiverb iLok licenses can be freely moved between iLoks in your account and can be put on any iLok dongle, including your Pro Tools or Waves dongle.
2. Authorizing using Challenge Response
If you use this authorization method, you authorize your computer. This means only the authorized computer can run Altiverb. If you sell your computer, you may want to authorize a new computer. In that case we will ask you to de-authorize your old computer first, and then authorize your new computer. Please email Audio Ease when you need this.
If, at a later stage, you obtain an iLok Smart Key, we can put the authorization from your computer into your iLok Smart Key Please email Audio Ease when you wish to do so.