Lynyrd Skynyrd film now given green light for distri­bu­tion

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - City - - ENTERTAINMENT - REUTERS

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 the band’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.”

PHOTO: STEVE MAR­CUS/REUTERS

Rickey Med­locke (C) and Gary Ross­ing­ton (R) of Lynyrd Skynyrd at a re­cent mu­sic fes­ti­val in the US

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