U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Court Lifts 'Blood Oath' Injunction on Lynyrd Skynyrd Movie

The members of the epic band Lynyrd Skynyrd may have taken a blood oath to never use the name Lynyrd Skynyrd again, but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that their blood oath isn't strong enough to stop the Lynyrd Skynyrd movie, Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, from being distributed and released.

The district court ruled that the filmmaker could not release the film because it had partnered with one of the original members, Artimus Pyle, who had taken the blood oath. As reported, the court explained that but for his blood oath (i.e. making a deal prohibiting him from doing anything with the name Lynyrd Skynyrd), the filmmaker would have been "as free as a bird" to do so.

Privity and Publishing

As the Second Circuit noted, the filmmaker, Cleopatra, wasn't in privity to the agreement by Pyle, and that matters in terms of whether it could be enjoined from releasing the film.

Basically, the appellate court panel ruled that the filmmaker can release the film as Pyle was not prohibited from participating in a film about his own experiences, including the plane crash that killed Van Zant and Gaines, but he survived.

The court held that the types of restrictions contained in the blood oath agreement were not specific enough to form the basis for injunctive relief.

There's still no word on an actual release date yet.

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