Robert S. Meloni


Meloni & McCaffrey

Mr. Meloni has practiced law internationally in the entertainment industries for over 40 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), the United States Court of Appeals (2nd, 5th, 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,  Dua Lipa, LL Cool J,  Kodak Black, GloRilla, DJ Khaled, Drake, Eminem, Roddy Ricch, JuiceWRLD, Ellie Goulding, Kali Uchis, Pras Michel (Fugees),  Action Bronson, Busta Rhymes, Timbaland, 03 Greedo, Cee Lo, Cam'ron, Ludacris, Brandy, Lil Jon,  Austin Mahone, Clipse, Talib Kweli,  and Gordon Gano/Violent Femmes.

Companies Include: Plus One Records, Grade A Productions, Artist Partner Group, CMG Enterprises, Interscope/Universal Music Group; Plus One Records, Cinematic Music; Felix the Cat Productions, Inc., Roadrunner Records; Oscilloscope Pictures, Elite Media & Marketing; Gannon & Kent Music, The All Blacks B.V.;  Robbins Entertainment.

Past Clients Included: Estate of John Lennon, Chuck Berry, Yoko Ono, Miles Davis, Leonard Cohen, Phil Spector, The Hit Factory, Aretha Franklin, Estate of Fats Waller, Estate of Serge Rachmaninoff, French Montana, John Sayles, 6ix9ine, Q Tip, Erick Morillo, Dru Hill, Pharrell Williams/Neptunes, Victory Records, Violator Management, Memory Lane Music Group, Kool and the Gang, United Artists Music, Chappell Music, Important/Relativity Records, Pat Metheny, Moses Znaimer 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:

  • 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.

  • Negotiating On-Line Distribution and Recording Agreements, Music on the Internet, by Robert S. Meloni and Dina LaPolt (8 Entertainment Industry Contracts, Ch. 160, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc. 2023).

  • 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 MemorialCompetition.

  • Contributor and editor for the music business guide This Business of Music, by Shemel & Krasilovsky (various editions).

Reported cases include

Ivory Paynes v. Gloria Woods p/k/a "GloRilla, et al, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35980 (E.D.  La. March 1, 2024) (won dismissal of copyright infringement case based on lack of jurisdiction).

Deafueh Monbo et anno v. Lotfy Nathan, et al, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163519, E.D.N.Y., September 11, 2022 (obtained summary judgment dismissing complaint including claims for copyright and trademark infringement); 

VFLA Eventco LLC v William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, et al,2024 Cal. App. LEXIS 150 (won summary judgment and full affirmance on appeal dismissing complaint by 2020 Virgin Fest festival promoter for return of concert fees following COVID-19 mandate under force majeure provision of performance agreements with Ellie Goulding and Kali Uchis); 

Larry Heard and Robert Owens v. Trax Records, et al, US District Court, Northern District Illinois, Case No. 20-cv-03678 (successfully concluded settlement providing for return of all musical copyrights to artist clients); 

Kojon Heard v. Wayne Jenkins p/k/a "Jeezy", Def Jam Records and Universal Music,  2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174273, 2022 WL 4482765 (N.D. Ill. 2022) (obtained dismissal of copyright action).

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 relating to Violent Femmes music catalogue); 

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.