Microsoft has a technology used in their Office products called "Rights Management Services" (RMS). With it, you can encrypt Office files, and (hopefully) limit what and end-user can do with the file - such as printing, copying, editing, and forwarding.
Basically, RMS is a form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) applied to documents. I suppose this is targeted at people in the publication business, sharing a Word document with someone, and want to limit the chances information will get leaked. (But really, once you share a document with anyone else, it is out of your control.)
It's dangerous to rely on a third party to protect your information for you. Imagine what might happen if RMS stops working. You may suddenly find that Word has locked you out of your own documents. That's exactly what has happened.
Office 2003 users get "Unexpected error occurred, please try again later or contact your system administrator" when they attempt to open (or save) protected documents. The bug affects Office 2003 products including Excel 2003, Outlook 2003, PowerPoint 2003, and Word 2003.
That's gotta suck if you're trying to get work done. Imagine all those people realizing their own work has been locked away from them.
Microsoft released a hotfix a few days ago, but I'm amused by this note in the hotfix:
This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.So basically, it's not fully tested. And I wonder what "severely affected" means if you can't even access your own documents?