Sharkey: Games industry is six years behind music on piracy

Former singer Feargal Sharkey has warned the games industry that it is six years behind music when it comes to facing up to the problems of illegal downloading.

The 51-year-old is currently the head of UK Music, an umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK's commercial music industry.

He has been working with the game and film industries which face the same problem of people downloading illegal copies of entertainment products as music.

"We still haven't cracked the problem," he said. "Then again, we're six years ahead of, say, the games industry.

"The UK entertainment industry is worth £16bn and so it needs to be protected. There are two million people in creative companies and they need to pay their gas and electric bills come a Friday.

"So what we all have to do is ensure that we find out where people get their games, music and films from and ensure that artists and publishers get money from that.

"The likes of iTunes is great but it's not the sole outlet - games also has multiple outlets. We need to identify them all and, when it comes to those who steadfastly refuse to pay, hit them hard."

Sharkey hit the big time in 1976 as the lead vocalist of pop punk band The Undertones, famous for the hit single "Teenage Kicks", discovered by John Peel, the late DJ.

He said: "If I didn't get paid for my music, I would never have been able to carry on. People who pirate need to understand they will get less of what they love if they do not pay. Education is the key."