Judge: Lynyrd Skynyrd film violates 3-decade-old agreement

A movie created with assist from a former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer violates a “blood oath” surviving band members made to not exploit the band’s identify and historical past, a decide concluded as he blocked its distribution, siding with a surviving member of the Nineteen Seventies pioneering southern rock group and the widow of its lead singer.

The choice by U.S. District Decide Robert Candy was unsealed Monday on the request of a lawyer for a Los Angeles-based mostly unbiased report label that deliberate to distribute the movie, “Road Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Aircraft Crash.” It was dated final Wednesday.

Within the Nineteen Seventies, the band rode the recognition of classics like “Candy House Alabama” and “Free Chook” to stardom earlier than lead singer and songwriter Ronnie Van Zant died within the October 1977 crash in Mississippi. The identical yr, the band launched its last album: “Road Survivor.”

Evan Mandel, a lawyer for Cleopatra Data Inc. and Cleopatra Movies, stated in a Manhattan courtroom submitting that Candy’s ruling didn’t disclose the “particular parameters” of aid to the plaintiffs. The decide, although, wrote that a ruling towards Cleopatra would end in no income from the movie, which value $1.2 million to supply and was completed this spring.

Mandel stated he would search “speedy aid” from an appeals courtroom. He didn’t instantly return an e-mail looking for remark.

The decide stated the movie relied, partially, on the reminiscences of Artimus Pyle, who joined because the group’s drummer in 1975. The movie focuses on Pyle, his relationship with different band members, notably Van Zant, and occasions throughout and instantly following the aircraft crash.

Pyle was critically injured however survived the crash, as did founding band member Gary R. Rossington.

Candy stated Rossington, fellow founding band member Allen Collins, and Van Zant’s widow, now Judy Van Zant Jenness, entered a “blood oath” publish-crash, agreeing nobody would ever carry out as Lynyrd Skynyrd once more. Collins died within the early Nineteen Nineties.

The decide stated a dispute after surviving band members determined to commemorate the ten-yr anniversary of the crash with a tribute tour resulted in an settlement defining when the events might use the band’s identify, its historical past or the identify and likeness of Van Zant. Pyle signed the settlement, writing “Underneath Protest” adjoining to his signature. He carried out till 1991, earlier than signing a termination settlement.

In June 2016, Pyle signed a cope with Cleopatra that might pay him 5 % of the movie’s income and provides him a co-producer credit score, the courtroom ruling stated. The decide stated the movie’s screenwriter, Jared Cohn, repeatedly acquired historic info from Pyle, who reviewed his define and script, providing feedback and revisions. The decide stated Cleopatra additionally solicited Pyle’s views on casting and costumes and let him present suggestions on the accuracy of the portrayals by actors.

After listening to publicity concerning the movie final summer time, the plaintiffs despatched Cleopatra the 1988 courtroom order in July 2016 after solely about $7,000 had been spent creating the movie, the decide famous.

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