The Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia sided with the Commission, granting "a permanent injunction requiring PRO to cease its distribution activities and to remove the digital copies of the OCGA from the internet." Next, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed, rejecting "the Commission's assertion of copyright". The Supremes then granted certiorari.
the annotations in Georgia’s Official Code are ineligible for copyright protection, though for reasons distinct from those relied on by the Court of Appeals. A careful examination of our government edicts precedents reveals a straightforward rule based on the identity of the author. Under the government edicts doctrine, judges—and, we now confirm, legislators—may not be considered the “authors” of the works they produce in the course of their official duties as judges and legislators. That rule applies regardless of whether a given material carries the force of law. And it applies to the annotations here because they are authored by an arm of the legislature in the course of its official duties.