Linking on the web
Produced in partnership with Toby Headdon of Bristows
Linking on the web

The following TMT practice note produced in partnership with Toby Headdon of Bristows provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Linking on the web
  • Brexit
  • Common linking terminology
  • Hyperlinking
  • Deep linking
  • Embedded linking
  • Inline linking
  • Framing
  • Linking and copyright
  • Copyright—the communication to the public right
  • More...

This Practice Note explains the manner in which intellectual property (IP) and other rights apply in the context of linking on the web, with specific regard to the perspective of a website operator.

It covers:

  1. Brexit

  2. Common linking terminology

  3. Linking and copyright

  4. Copyright—the reproduction right

  5. Linking and other intellectual property rights

  6. Linking to defamatory/unlawful material

  7. Linking and contractual restrictions/limitations

See also, Precedent: Linking policy.


Following IP completion day (with some limited exceptions) all EU laws enacted prior to 31 December 2020, and all UK laws derived from EU laws prior to 31 December 2020, are retained in the UK unless or until modified by the UK. See Practice Note: Introduction to retained EU law and Brexit toolkit.

Retained EU law is also to be interpreted in line with the principles laid down by, and decisions of, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) taken prior to 31 December 2020. For CJEU decisions made after IP completion day, the domestic courts may still have regard to these decisions, in the same way as they might for case law of other jurisdictions, such as Canada or Australia. For more information, see Q&A: What is retained case law and to what extent are UK courts and tribunals bound/able to follow it?

Many of the key principles and precedents underpinning the law relating to ‘linking’ have been established by the CJEU.

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