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Enterprise Rights Management software is being adopted by businesses to secure their most valuable documents and sensitive content.

Matt Kesner has had a front-row seat in the entertainment industry's battle against piracy. Over the years, his Silicon Valley law firm has defended Napster against the music industry and fought on behalf of ReplayTV when Hollywood took the digital video recorder maker to court. So it's ironic the law firm recently embraced enterprise rights management (ERM) internally.

When Fenwick & West LLP takes on mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, tax and other types of cases, its 250 attorneys and 300 staffers gain access to millions of sensitive documents, from patent information to detailed financial reports that include revenue and sales projections.

Kesner, the firm's CTO, took his first stab at securing client data five years ago by getting rid of paper and moving documents online. He built extranets, with password protection and 128-bit SSL encryption, where Fenwick's lawyers and clients could view documents and communicate via discussion forums. He also gave access to third parties, such as opposing lawyers in litigation cases or potential buyers in acquisitions.

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This was first published in October 2006

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