Injunction lifted on Lynyrd Skynyrd film
The surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd cannot block the release of a movie created with help from a former drummer, and which depicted the plane crash that killed the rock band’s lead singer, a US federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.
By a 3-0 vote, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned a permanent injunction that had stopped Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records Inc from distributing Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash.
The film was partially based on the memories of Artimus Pyle, one of 20 survivors of the October 20, 1977, crash of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s touring plane in Mississippi. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and five others died. The band’s former guitarist Ed King died this year, from cancer.
Lynyrd Skynyrd is known for the songs Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird, both recorded before the crash.
While agreeing that Pyle could tell his own story, the surviving members persuaded US District Judge Robert Sweet in August 2017 after a non-jury trial that the movie violated a 1988 consent decree governing the use of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s name and history.
But the appeals court said the wording of the decree was problematic because it blocked Pyle from making a movie about Lynyrd Skynyrd’s history, but not a movie about his experiences with the band, including the crash. “That crash is part of the ‘history’ of the band, but it is also an ‘experience’ of Pyle with the band, likely his most important experience,” it wrote, adding that the decree provisions were “sufficiently inconsistent, or at least insufficiently specific, to support an injunction.”
Rickey Medlocke (C) and Gary Rossington (R) of Lynyrd Skynyrd at a recent music festival in the US