Lit (file format)

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The LIT format (filename extension: * .lit) is a compressed file format . The file can be encrypted or unencrypted. Microsoft uses the format primarily for electronic books ( e-books ) with its own Microsoft Reader . LIT most likely stands for " lit erature" (English for " literature "). The LIT file format is also affected by the discontinuation of sales of Microsoft Reader, which is planned for 2012 ; Microsoft has stopped selling corresponding offers in this format since November 2011.

The lit format is an expanded form of Microsoft's Compiled / Compressed HTML Help format of the Compiled Help Modules (CHM), the official format of help files under the Windows operating system . This means that it is compiled HTML , JavaScript and metadata and possibly image files that are compressed with the LZX algorithm of the cabinet files .

The file format was abandoned in favor of the (among other things) also HTML-based Open eBook (predecessor of EPUB ).

copy protection

The content of the file is encrypted by the built-in digital rights management and should thus be protected against any copying , conversion into other formats and changes to the content.

In the meantime, however, the protective mechanism has been cracked . The programmer Dan Jackson developed the command line - program "ConvertLIT" that the integrated DRM system put in an unprotected state, and can even extract data from it. However, copying such data by bypassing copy protection violates EU Directive 2001/29 / EC and the German copyright law modified on its basis .

Due to the possible circumvention of the protective mechanism, the format has so far not been able to establish itself with commercial e-book distributors. However, it is reported from e-book retailers that Microsoft is working to close this gap.


Microsoft itself does not offer a program for generating the LIT files, but a free developer package that enables other providers to develop corresponding software, as well as a plug-in for the in-house word processor " Microsoft Word ". Thanks to the developer package, there are now some converters that convert appropriately formatted, clean HTML into the LIT format.

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