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Private Eye story about the Daily Mail launching their podcast "Straight to the Comments!"

We were really pleased that Private Eye got in our corner and backed us indie podcasters after the Daily Mail launched their version of 'Straight to the Comments'. This was featured in their "Street of Shame" column.

Peas in a Pod

WHY are internet comments so bonkers - and what does their existence say about their authors (and the rest of us)? That was the idea behind Lisa Williams and Sarah Illingworth's podcast, Straight to the Comments, which launched in March 2023. In September they added a fun game to the format, where one host had to guess the news story based only on hearing the comments about it.

It was a great idea - or, at least, the Daily Mail seems to have thought so.

On 5 February it launched a new podcast called, er, Straight to the Comments! Not only has the paper cannily found a way to monetise the deranged frothings of its own readers beneath the stories it publishes online, but the two hosts, YouTube pranksters Archie Manners and Josh Pieters, even have a section where they, ahem, get their celebrity guest to guess the news story about them based only on hearing the comments about it.

Williams and Illingworth are devastated: as independent podcasters, they can't compete with the Mail's promotion and marketing machine. They went straight to their lawyers and applied to trademark their title, as well as sending the Mail a cease-and-desist letter. The paper's lawyers have fobbed them off, saying the title was a common phrase (it is not: you will scroll a long way down the Google results before you find a reference to anything but either of the podcasts). And as for guessing the story from the comments: "The concept has been used as a social guessing game for over a decade and there is nothing novel or distinctive about it."

So, you heard it here first: the Mail's shiny new podcast is, by its own admission, tired and derivative. Tune in now!

If you found yourself in a podcast intellectual property situation, we found this article by the Guardian helpful:


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