Appeals Court rules Lynyrd Skynyrd biopic can be released

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesA New York federal appeals court has reversed a judge’s injunction against the release of a Lynyrd Skynyrd biopic focusing on the tragic 1977 plane crash that claimed the life of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and other band members, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, singer Johnny Van Zant and the estates of deceased band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Allen Collins, sued to block production of the film Street Survivor: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, in 2017, claiming it violated a 1988 consent order signed by ex-Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle — whose story provides the basis for the movie — prohibiting him from using the group’s name.

However, the movie’s producer, Cleopatra Films, maintained that Pyle wasn’t directly involved in writing the film, so the consent order shouldn’t affect the production. Additionally, the movie won’t feature any Skynyrd music. Cleopatra adds that the story of the band’s crash is commonly known by many people.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the complaint fell short of what’s needed to support an injunction, stating that based on the language of the consent order, Pyle is permitted to make a movie that describes his experiences and refer to the band, but not make a movie that serves as the history of the band, according to THR.

“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,” notes the Second Circuit. “Provisions of a consent decree that both prohibit a movie about such a history and also permit a movie about such an experience are sufficiently inconsistent, or at least insufficiently specific, to support an injunction.”

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