NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — A federal appeals court has ruled that the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd cannot block the release of a movie which depicts the plane crash that killed several founding members of the band, including frontman Ronnie Van Zant.
According to Reuters, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan voted 3-0 to overturn a permanent injunction which had blocked Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records Inc from distributing “Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash.”
The movie, which was based in part on the recollections of former Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle, was the subject of costly litigation by the other surviving members, including Johnny Van Zant guitarist Gary Rossington, who claimed that Pyle’s participation in the film violated a 1988 consent decree over the use of the band’s name and history.
However, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the decree was problematic as it blocked Pyle from using his own experiences as a basis for the film.
“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,” the 2nd Circuit said in its ruling, per Reuters. “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.”
The court also noted that the free speech concerns in the case warranted caution before approving an injunction that would bar the viewing of an expressive work.
According to Reuters, Pyle was not involved in the appeal.