Microsoft has released the first segment of its Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) strategy, originally put forth in February of 2003. The Microsoft Windows Rights Management (RM) client is required to run applications based on Windows RM technologies and is now available for free download from the Microsoft Web site. Windows RMS is designed to allow users to define parameters for forwarding, copying, and printing documents and set expiration rules for portals, word processing, or email documents.
The server component and a RMS add-on for Internet Explorer, are scheduled for release later this year. Office 2003, scheduled to ship in October, will be the first RMS-enabled application available from Microsoft. Office 2003 Standard Edition will allow users to view rights-protected content, but not to create it, while the Professional Edition will allow users to create rights-protected Office documents.
RMS supports Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows ME, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition. Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition users must have the Active Directory Client Extension (the DSClient); users without the DSClient installed may use Windows Rights Management Client, but the Service Discovery through Active Directory feature will be unavailable.
In order to implement RMS, organizations must have a Windows Server 2003 Server License, Windows Server 2003 Client Access Licenses (CALs), and Windows Rights Management Services CALs. Microsoft is also offering an RMS External Connector (EC) license, which will allow organizations to permit an unlimited number of external users to access a single licensed copy of RMS server software without requiring an additional CAL for each. The RMS EC license (approximately $18,066) is intended to give organizations the ability to allow customers or business partners to access rights-protected information.