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Rights Management Coming for Windows Server 2003

Microsoft is adding digital rights management services to Windows Server 2003. The technology will be available as an add-on sometime after Windows Server 2003 is released in April.

As a matter of public discussion, most of the focus on digital rights management involves the efforts of the recording industry to prevent people from copying music. But Microsoft is positioning the newly disclosed set of services for the upcoming Windows Server 2003 as a way for customers to secure sensitive internal business information like financial reports and planning documents.

"What's really compelling about rights management technology is that it enables businesses to protect the information they most worry might leak -- either deliberately or inadvertently -- by putting persistent protections in the documents themselves," Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's security business unit, said in a statement.

The Windows Rights Management Services will be designed to work with word processors, portals and e-mail to allow users to designate who can access content and what kinds of access rights they can have.

Rights and policy will be managed at the server, while users running RMS-enabled applications will be able to apply rights. Control will be possible over such things as e-mail forwarding, copying, printing and setting time-based expiration rules.

A beta version of Rights Management Services will be available in the second quarter of this year, Microsoft disclosed last week. Also in the second quarter, Microsoft will make two software development kits for developers interested in including rights management in their applications.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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