In a statement after the ruling, Evan Mandel, a lawyer with Cleopatra Films, called the decision "a victory for filmmakers, artists, journalists, readers, spectators and the market of ideas." He added: "The band does not appreciate the irony." Of singing about freedom when trying to use a secret gag order to prevent other artists from expressing opinions with which the band does not agree. "
Mr. Mandel said the film, which cost $ 1.5 million, had been filmed and was in post-production, with a release scheduled for the summer of 2019.
Representatives of the band declined to comment. The plaintiffs' attorneys, who can still appeal Wednesday's decision, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Pyle left the band in 1991 and did not participate in the appeal. According to court documents, he described the film as "MY story", a "not only about the plane crash but also about my personal relationship with the genius that was Ronnie Van Zant, whom I loved as a brother and still strange in this". day."
In an interview in 2013, Mr. Pyle said he stayed close to Mr. Rossington, but added: "Gary is surrounded by some very sinister people, motivated by money, trying to extract every penny of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and they use Gary to do it. "
Cleopatra, in her appeal, also argued that she had the First Amendment right to "produce and distribute a dramatic film that describes, describes and / or is based on true historical facts, as deemed appropriate." Given the First Amendment argument, which invoked the constitutional doctrine of prior restraint that prohibits government censorship of material before publication, multiple entertainment and news organizations joined the legal cause of Cleopatra.
However, even by nullifying the decision, the appeals court ruled that this was not a First Amendment violation because "no government entity has obtained a court order to prevent the realization or release" of the film. However, the decision added that the previous decision restricted "the visualization of an express work before its public availability, and the courts must always hesitate to prove a requirement of this type."
The appellate court ruling also overturned the earlier ruling that said Cleopatra and Mr. Pyle would have to pay the plaintiffs at least $ 632,110.91 in legal fees.