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Microsoft DRM in Office 2003

New Office locks down documents reports on how Microsoft is adding Digital Rights Management to Office 2003 applications.

You need a Windows 2003 server to write or read such a document. Specifically, you need access to the server that was used to create the document, and I see that as one of the problems that will cause people to hesitate to employ this. Another negative is that you'd need new versions of Office, which means forcing upgrades people may not want to make.

I see a bigger problem when the central server crashes or just gets confused about who has rights. This will happen, and since it's going to be the Really, Really Important documents that will have this kind of protection, being suddenly unable to access them won't be pretty.

I don't know how tough the encryption will be, but I bet there will be a demand for ways to break it very quickly. If it can be broken, that will make the whole thing useless, and if it can't, some irreplacable things are going to disappear forever now and then. Neither prospect makes this idea very attractive, I think.

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