Meloni & McCaffrey

Robert S. Meloni


Mr. Meloni has practiced law internationally in the entertainment industries for over 39 years. His practice has focused on entertainment, new media and intellectual property matters, with a concentration in intellectual property counseling and litigation and entertainment industry business disputes. He is admitted to the New York State Bar, First Department (1981), the United States District Courts (Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York, Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas), the United States Court of Appeals (2nd, 6th, 8th and 9th Circuits), and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Meloni is a 1976 graduate of the University at Albany (magna cum laude) and a 1980 graduate of NY Law School.

Since forming Meloni & McCaffrey, Mr. Meloni has handled matters for both individual artists and companies. 

Artists Include: Lana Del Rey, Drake, LL Cool J,  French Montana, DJ Khaled, Eminem, JuiceWRLD, Ludacris, Lil Jon,  Phil Spector, Chuck Berry, Ellie Goulding, Kali Uchis, Action Bronson, Busta Rhymes, Kodak Black, Timbalend, Roddy Ricch, 03 Greedo, Brandy, Cee Lo, Erick Morillo, Dru Hill, John Sayles, Pharrell Williams/Neptunes, Austin Mahone, Clipse, Talib Kweli, Q Tip, and Gordon Gano/Violent Femmes.

Companies Include: Artist Partner Group, Interscope/Universal Music Group; Cinematic Music; Felix the Cat Productions, Inc., Roadrunner Records; Oscilloscope Pictures, Elite Media & Marketing; Oscilliscope Pictures, The All Blacks B.V.; Victory Records; Violator Management; Memory Lane Music Group/Larry Spier Music; Robbins Entertainment.

Past Clients Included: Aretha Franklin, Estate of Fats Waller, Estate of Serge Rachmaninoff, Kool and the Gang, United Artists Music, Estate of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, The Hit Factory, Chappell Music, Miles Davis, Important/Relativity Records, Pat Metheny, Great Southern, Brockum, Aerosmith, Moses Znaimer, Leonard Cohen and New Edition.

Mr. Meloni is the author of  a number of  published scholarly articles on issues of copyright, internet,  and music industry related topics including the following:

  • Contributor,  Matthew Bender's Entertainment Industry Contracts,  Music on the Internet, Vols. 8 and 9 (2001).

  • Ethical Considerations for Entertainment Industry Profes­sionals, Columbia-V.L.A. Journal of Law & the Arts, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Spring 1991)(with co-author with M. William Krasilovsky.

  • New Contract Issues in Music Video Deals, Entertainment Law & Finance, Vol. 1, No. IV (Jan. 1986)

  • Copyright Law as a Protection Against Improvidence: Renewals, Reversions and Terminations, Communications and the Law, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Fall 1983)(with co-author with M. William Krasilovsky).

  • The Works Made For Hire Doctrine Under the 1976 Copyright Act, 1980 Winner (NYLS) ASCAP Nathan Burkan Memorial Competition.

  • Contributor to 6th Edition of the music business guide This Business of Music, by Shemel & Krasilovsky, as well as editorial contributions for other editions.

Reported cases include

Woodard v. Victory Records, Inc., 2016 WL 1270423 (N.D. Ill 2016) (obtained summary judgment dismissing claim under record contract for 50/50 digital download royalty rate for digital downloads, and jury award of exclusive sound recording copyrights under short form agreement); Woodard v. Victory Records, Inc., 2014 WL 2118799 (N.D. Ill 2014)(favorable ruling finding that attorney-client privilege did not attach to certain documents shared by musical band with non-party John Janick); Ritchie v. Gano, 2010 WL 4970103, (S.D.N.Y. 2010) (obtained dismissal of copyright/trademark complaint and attorney's fees award); Muniz v. Morillo, 2008 WL 4219073, (S.D.N.Y. 2008) (obtained dismissal of copyright action regarding the song "I Like To Move It"); Jackson v. Broadcast Music, Inc. 2006WL250524 (S.D.N.Y.), aff’d, 2007WL2914516 (2d Cir. 2007)(obtained dismissal of copyright claims regarding “It's a Man's Man's Man's World”); Bucciarelli-Tieger, et al v. Victory Records, 488 F.Supp. 702 (N.D. Ill 2007)(obtained dismissal of claim for termination of record contract); Carroll v. Kahn, 2003 WL 22327299, 68 U.S.P.Q.2d 1357 (N.D.N.Y. 2003)(obtained dismissal of copyright claims regarding documentary film); EMI Latin v. Bautista, 2003 WL 470333 (S.D.N.Y. Feb 24, 2003)(obtained preliminary injunction preventing record company from interfering with artist's ability to sign new recording contract); Latture v. James Todd Smith p/k/a LL Cool J, 758 N.Y.S.2d 135 (2d Dep’t 2003)(obtained dismissal of claims under management contract); TufAmerica, Inc. v. Roy Hammond, et al, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9258 (S.D.N.Y. 2002)(copyright infringement); Schoenberg v. Shapolsky Publishers, Inc., 916 F. Supp. 333 (S.D.N.Y.1992)(obtained dismissal of copyright claim); Schoenberg v. Shapolsky Publishers, Inc., 971 F.2d 926 (2d Cir. 1992) (co-counsel)(favorable ruling regarding copyright subject matter jurisdiction); Giaimo & Vreeburg  v. James Todd Smith p/k/a LL Cool J, 192 A.D.2d 41, 599 N.Y.S.2d 841 (2d Dep’t 1992) (co-counsel)(obtained dismissal of attorney's claim under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1981);  Swan v. EMI Music Publishing, Inc., 2000 WL 1528261 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)(favorable ruling regarding copyright statute of limitations defense on behalf of heir of songwriter of Never On Sunday); Hall v. Inner City Records, 212 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 272 (S.D.N.Y. 1980)(obtained dismissal of copyright claim based on lack of  subject matter jurisdiction).

Public Speaking-Teaching:

An accomplished public speaker, Mr. Meloni has also been a frequent lecturer on copyright, new media and music industry related topics:  South By Southwest (2017:) Moderator/Panelist Blurred Lines - Copyright Damages Calculations;  CMJ (2015) Moderator/Speaker "Blurred Lines or Fuzzy Math, Damages Calculations in the Music Industry";  The New School, St. Johns University Law School, New York Law School, American Conference Institute-Digital Distribution of Music).

He is a former Adjunct Professor at  New York University, Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions. 

Peer Review:

Martindale-Hubbell has identified Mr. Meloni as an "AV Preeminent™ attorney. The AV Preeminent designation signifies that Mr. Meloni’s peers – AV-rated members of the bar and the judiciary - rank him at the highest level of professional excellence in both legal ability & ethical standards.

Mr. Meloni was also selected as a
Superlawyers - one of the “Top 5% of lawyers in New York"; top-rated New York attorneys (Avenue Magazine’s "Legal Elite") and Top Rated Lawyers (New York Magazine, New York Law Journal).

Memberships & Affiliations:

Copyright Society of the U.S.A.; National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences;
American Bar Association-Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Intellectual Property Law Section, Entertainment Media, Intellectual Property and Sports Law Section.