Stephen Fry has voiced a "surprisingly ferocious" attack on copyright in the music, movie and television industries, a BBC journalist reports.

At the iTunes Live event in London, the tech-savvy celeb outlined the history of copyright before saying companies are currently "doing the wrong thing".

He lambasted the you-wouldn't-steal-a-handbag piracy ads as "preposterous" asking if the industry was "so blind... as to think that someone who bit-torrents an episode of 24 is the same as someone who steals somebody's handbag".

Fry also said The Pirate Bay had been unjustly pursued, suggested that current download pricing was not "fair" and compared the music industry to "big tobacco".

A tweet from the star after the speech read: "Hope I'm not misunderstood. Such a pity if I get misrepresented as a 'help yourself and be a pirate' advocate".