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Judge blocks former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer’s biopic following lawsuit

Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1973
Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1973

A judge has granted a permanent injunction blocking an unauthorized biopic about the life of former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle and the story of the 1977 plane crash that killed several band and crew members, reports Rolling Stone.

The film, entitled Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, was currently in production when the lawsuit was brought against Pyle and co-producer Cleopatra Records in June.  Surviving members Gary Rossington and Johnny Van Zant and the estates of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines claimed that the project was in violation of a 1988 consent order, signed by Pyle.

“None of the defendants received the requisite authorization under the terms of the consent order in depiction of (Ronnie) Van Zant or Gaines or in the use of the Lynyrd Skynyrd name, and therefore all have violated the consent order,” U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet wrote in his judgment.

Sweet also stated that the film would have caused “irreparable harm” to the band’s name and the estates of the deceased.

While the judgment blocks Pyle’s involvement in the film, based on his signing of the 1988 consent order, it does not block Cleopatra Records from making a movie about the band or the deadly plane crash. Cleopatra could conceivably still make a film based on the events, assuming it severs all ties with Pyle.

Artimus Pyle was the drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1974 to 1977 and after the their hiatus, from 1987 to 1991.

The 1977 crash killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, band members Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray.

 

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