This is why the companies regulate this, not the government. Sometimes the code can only be entered a certain amount of times before it's expired. Any company that doesn't only has itself to blame.
Now think about this. If this whole numbering crap would indeed be protected by law, why the hell would Sony go to such lengths to protect it? In that definition, they would be waving the number around exclaiming, "Just try it. I dare you!"
perhaps at first they naively (or stupidly, in hindsight) thought they'd done a pretty good job with security and didn't need to go through all the fuss and bother. now of course, they realise otherwise and are going to try their damnedest vs Geohot & co lol
Proud Sony Rear Admiral