The issue at play in this case, is the government edicts doctrine, which basically goes like this. Government cannot copyright their fucking laws. Meaning, they can’t pass a law, and then get pissed that someone reprints it verbatim elsewhere, like other copyrights.
The reason for this, is that we are a government by the people and for the people, and all people should have equal access to the laws that govern them. So if government copyrighted something, and you could only get it from government (potentially with some fee attached), you may not have good access to it, where someone else might have given it to you another way.
So, now to this case. Georgia has this thing they call The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). It’s a book of all their laws and shit, with annotations explaining stuff. The annotations aren’t law, but they’re still from Georgia Lawmakers, and then printed and published by a private company.
Public.Resource.Org (PRO), being the nice people they are, try to put out all laws for people to have easy access to them. So they bought the OCGA, scanned that motherfucker, and put it out.
Georgia was like, “Hey motherfucker, you can’t do that. Sure our laws are in there, but there’s a bunch of other shit too. You can’t print that. It’s a copyright violation.”
But PRO was like, “Fuck you, assholes. These are official government documents, both laws, and explanations of the law, and therefore the government edict doctrine mentioned earlier applies. So you can take your cease-and-desist order, and shove it sideways up your whole ass.”
The 11th circuit court of appeals agreed with PRO, and told Georgia to eat a bag of dicks. So Georgia asked for SCOTUS to hook them up, and here we are.
SCOTUS in a non-partisan split decision was unimpressed with the state of Georgia and their shitty argument, siding 5-4 for Public.Resource.org. That the idea the annotations are copyrightable but laws aren’t is fucking stupid, and anyone who interprets it that way are fucking idiots.