Is CD Burning software like Nero illegal in Germany?

This question stems from an ongoing controversy regarding the game, Sacred. Sacred was made by a German company, Ascaron, and is distributed in North America by Encore. To further muddy the waters, Encore insisted that Ascaraon remove most of the gore and dismemberment animations form the NA version in order to get a Teen rating. Many NA folks, myself included, ordered imported versions of Sacred from the UK (via The UK distributer is - I think (if I follow all the logos correctly) - Koch Media.

So then - Sacred’s been plagued by installation problems, crashes to desktop and general funkiness. The troubles seem to have increased with the release of patch 1.5 last week. Ok, so far, business as usual for a game.

However, also within the last week Sacred’s staff has made several pronouncements that part of the trouble is the presence of CD burning software such as Nero, Alcohol 120 & Daemon Tools. Apparently, Sacred’s copy protection scheme searches the registry and, if it finds evidence of this sort of software, throws an electronic fit.

Sacred’s Staff recommends disabling these tools, which they condemn as illegal. Ingo Mohr, one of Sacred’s developers, claims that the real problem is the various tools are poorly made and don’t completley remove themselves from the registry thus it’s not Ascaron’s fault that their copy protection finds traces of them and refuses to work and anyway those programs are illegal. Personally, I think that argument is disgustingly disingenuous but Ingo didn’t ask me.

This all sounds like a mess but it’s got me curious. For the record, I own Alcohol 120 and use it for making backups of games. I play most of my games from images convenience. I do not pirate games. I buy every game I own and do not distribute my images to anyone. Alcohol is on at all times providing 3 virtual drives. Also like many people, Sacred runs just fine for me so it’s obvious that Alcohol alone is not the source of the technical troubles.

So my questions are:

  1. Is this software illegal to own in Germany? Is that all of the EU?
  2. Doesn’t the EU copyright law allow for making back up copies?
  3. I thought there was a big general copyright convention (the Berne treaty, is it?) that lays out copyright for most of the planet?
  4. Ascaron’s own Eula specifically states that personal back up copies are permitted.
  5. Even if the software is illegal, does a Ascaron have the right to program their copy protection to look for it and refuse to to cooperate?
    5a. What about if the game was distributed or purchased and is being used in countries where CR - Burning software IS legal (IE - the US)
    5b. What if Ascaron doesn’t tell people before they hand over the cash for the game (Ascaron is not offering returns.)

thanks for your thoughts. This ought to keep us busy!

No, it is legal in Germany and the rest of the EU. I have a German copy of Nero and several German similar products like DVD rippers, etc.