Stranglers frontman Hugh Cornwell has spoken out against Metallica's stance on downloading music, calling the middle-aged metallers 'silly'.

Cornwell told that the band should never have taken filesharing network Napster to court, and defended the rights of music fans who downloading albums illegally.

"It's silly. Come on!," he said. "It's hysteria. You have got to grow up and move forward. They can't exactly need the money, can they? ... The internet is the perfect delivery system for music, so why not use it? I don't see it as being exploited at all - I think we are exploiting the internet. I think you have just got to find more ingenious ways of generating a living than by ripping people off, charging them £15 for an album that they can get for free. It just means people aren't being ripped off any more."

True to his word, the singer-songwriter has made his latest album available for free from his website, and plays Dublin and Belfast in March. See listings for details.