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Do No Harm License

A license for developers who write open source code to make the world a better place

As developers we can no longer close our eyes to the fact that open source code is being used by individuals and organizations to the detriment of our society.

The Do No Harm License is for developers that agree in general with the principles of open source software, but are uncomfortable with their software being used as part of efforts to destroy lives, our environment and our future.

In short, developers who use this license want their code to contribute to a just world for all.

This license is based on the BSD 3-clause license, but with specific exclusions for using licensed code to promote or profit from:

  • violence, hate and division,
  • environmental destruction,
  • abuse of human rights,
  • the destruction of people’s physical and mental health

View the license

Draft Status

This license is currently in draft and should be considered not stable.

We want to create a license that the community is invested in, doing so takes time to gather the input of the community.

We're working towards a version 1 of the license.


Simply copy the file into your projects, add your copyright information, and use the abbreviation NoHarm-draft where necessary to describe your choice of license.

Can I add/remove my own exceptions

If you do, then please be sure to choose a new name for the license so as to make it easy for people to automatically analyse licensing of package dependencies.

How did this come about?

This license was created by one of the developers of Raisely and Kepla. We grew out of Agency building software to help non-profit's and other organisations that make the world a better place.

As we built, we started creating libraries to solve problems we faced, and wanted to give back to the open source community (which our software is built on).

We strive every day to create tools that make the world a better place, and wanted to discourage misuse of the code we share for purposes that go against what we stand for and work for.


Ultimately the aim is that this license be adopted by those in the open source community that are concerned with how our code is used.

We strive to make the license specific and broadly adoptable so that individuals and organizations can use code under this license without fear of unnecessary or punitive enforcement.

This means that the license may not always cover every kind of unethical practice that we would want to exclude so as to prevent the license from being overly complicated or overly restrictive to the point where virtually no organisation could safely use the code.


As with all things open source, we welcome suggestions and improvements. If you would like to suggest improvements, please open an issue.

We prefer additions that:

  1. Add clarity,
  2. Address an important issue that we have overlooked,
  3. Foster adoption (see above), and
  4. Are concise (don't require lengthy legal definitions, though we know this isn't always possible).

Issues that are opened in order to debate ideology, express climate skepticism, promote discrimination or divisiveness, etc. may be closed or deleted without comment.


Do No Harm software license - A licence for using software for good





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