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Hippocratic License 3.0 Provides Protections For Universally Recognized Human Rights


The Organization for Ethical Source (OES) has announced the release of the Hippocratic License 3.0 (HL3), a major revision of the preeminent ethical source license that specifically prohibits the use of open source software in violation of universal standards for human rights.

Development of HL3 was led by Sameeul Haque, an IP and human rights attorney with OES partner Corporate Accountability Lab (CAL), in consultation with a special-purpose working group that included other ethical source license creators as well as open source maintainers.

Strengthening the enforcement mechanism was a primary focus in the development of HL3, but one of its key innovations is its modularity. The core license provides protections for universally recognized human rights— including specific provisions for Indigenous rights— but also offers optional modules that focus on specific areas of concern, such as environmental justice or labor rights.

This modular approach, powered by a redesigned “license builder” website, empowers adopters to customize the Hippocratic License to reflect the needs and challenges of their particular communities. The site also provides plain-language explanations of each clause of the license, helping maintainers make informed decisions about adoption and customization.

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