U2 have vowed to release its new album – stolen last week – on iTunes should it turn up on a peer-to-peer network before its scheduled release in November.

A copy of the CD - which the group had just finished recording – was stolen during a photo shoot in the south of France last week.

Facing the possibility that it could be made available as a free download on the Internet lead singer Bono told The Telegraph: "If it is on the Internet this week, we will release it immediately as a legal download on iTunes, and get hard copies into the shops by the end of the month. It would be a real pity. It would screw up years of work and months of planning, not to mention f**king up our holidays. But once it's out, it's out."

The Telegraph reflects: "This might seem a lot of fuss for a missing CD. Ten years ago bands would glibly hand out advance copies of their albums to friends and co-workers. But in the era of peer-to-peer filesharing, U2 are coming to terms with the fact that two years of hard work on a project expected to generate tens of millions in revenue could be made available as a free download on the internet months in advance of its planned November release."