An infamous clause found occasionally in software licenses is:
The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil.
While a lot of people don't seem to like this clause, I wanted to step back and analyze the idea of "evil" from a purely legal perspective rather than the social milieu of the open source community.
To that end, is the term "evil" a proper term in law with a distinct meaning? One idea I had was to interpret it as a synonym of "unlawful" or maybe "criminal". The other idea is to understand it more in the sense of legal positivism, where socially-defined "good" and "evil" are distinguished from legally-defined "lawful" and "unlawful", and so a particular act might be "good" but "unlawful" or "evil" but "lawful".
Neither of these definitions seems satisfactory.
The problem I have with the first definition is that it adds unnecessary complexity to what should be more simply expressed as "This software is not to be used for any unlawful purpose." or "Committing any felony or gross misdemeanor with the software shall constitute a breach of the license agreement.". It also likely places someone who commits an unlawful act as minor as forgetting to add coins to a parking meter on the same level as a cackling comic book supervillain who gets off on bombing orphanages, which seems disingenuous.
The problem I have with the legal positivism definition is that it empowers a court to define social rules, which it is not designed to do. For example, some people (based on their beliefs) might characterize using scheduling software to manage abortion clinic appointments to be an "evil" use (and thus a breach of the license), while others might take the opposite perspective and claim that using the same scheduling software to plan anti-abortion protests or manage the shifts of law enforcement officers investigating suspected clandestine abortion clinics are "evil" usages forbidden by the license.
I'm interested in either an analysis of the meaning of "evil" in a general legal sense (in any jurisdiction in which the term might have been given a specific meaning or been interpreted by a court) or a sense restricted to software licenses, if such has ever been done.
As hinted at by respondents and commentators, I do see a distinction between acts that the vast majority of reasonable people would see as "clearly" evil such as ethnic cleansing, slavery, or rape and acts where the evil-ness or lack thereof is a valid point of debate, such as abortion, marketing habit-forming drugs, or not eating vegan. An answer might cover this. For example, is determination of whether a questionable act qualifies as evil a question of law for the judge or a question of fact for the trier of fact (e.g. jury)? Are the personal moral beliefs of the software licensor and/or licensee relevant? For example, if I have a personal moral belief (not shared by most of the members of my community) that eating at Burger King is evil because they buy from factory farms but I nonetheless use scheduling software with a "no evil" clause to schedule a lunch date at Burger King, am I in breach of the license? If the software's owner/licensor is a highly devout Catholic who considers any form of birth control to be pure evil but I (the licensee) disagree, is my act of using the software to facilitate an otherwise lawful condom purchase a breach?
I do recognize that none of the situations I described above are likely to land me inside a courtroom due to practical matters. That is why my question is about the nature and definition of "evil" for legal purposes rather than advice for any specific situation, license, or use. I know what "love" means, but what does "evil" mean?