Manama: Saudi Arabia is blocking access to 22 websites for piracy and copyright infringement, the culture and information ministry has said.

“The temporary blocking is in application of court orders issued a few weeks ago,” Rafeeq Al Aqeeli, “These sites have encroached on copyrights by offering movies and books and re-broadcasting programmes that had been aired on some channels without the consent of their authors or owners,” he said in remarks published by news site Sabq on Thursday.

The ministry received complaints from the concerned parties and moved to reach an agreement with the owners of the websites before the cases were reviewed by the legal authorities, he added.

“The ministry asked the owners and the people in charge of the sites to communicate with its copyrights department in order to reach an out-of-court agreement, but there was no response from them,” he said. “The decision to block the websites was based on their violation of the ministry rules and regulations on copyrights,” he added.

Movie-swapping sites are among those that had been blocked by the ministry for copyright infringement, the report said.