Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
The Courts The Internet

Link Rot and the US Supreme Court 161

necro81 writes "Hyperlinks are not forever. Link rot occurs when a source you've linked to no longer exists — or worse, exists in a different state than when the link was originally made. Even permalinks aren't necessarily permanent if a domain goes silent or switches ownership. According to new research from Harvard Law, some 49% of hyperlinks in Supreme Court documents no longer point to the correct original content. A second study on link rot from Yale stresses that for the Court footnotes, citations, parenthetical asides, and historical context mean as much as the text of an opinion itself, which makes link rot a threat to future scholarship."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Link Rot and the US Supreme Court

Comments Filter:
  • 404 Not Found (Score:5, Interesting)

    by themushroom ( 197365 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @02:33PM (#44926427) Homepage

    Which is not what you want to see in, say, an Apple verses Samsung style case where "previous art" and earlier applications are all that separate you from being successfully sued into the Stone Age.

  • Appendices? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spamchang ( 302052 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @02:35PM (#44926471) Journal

    Should documents then start including snapshots of the site (Wayback Machine-style) in document appendices? It's more work, sure, but it seems to be an obvious solution.

  • by Frojack123 ( 2606639 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @02:53PM (#44926679)

    They should just start linking through the Wayback Machine.

    Interesting concept, but Wayback is not always complete.

    Perhaps the court should create an exemption to copyright, that allows the creation an internal copy (perhaps in image or pdf format) of the page for anti-link-rot protection.

    I'm sure with clever wording they can manage to restrict this to lawyers and court proceedings, however:
    I could make the case that it should apply universally.

    After all, If you ever put up a page publicly on the net to content you were the rightful owner of, you have declared that version of that page to be a public document, and anyone should have the ability to make a static Image of that document. There are all sorts of copyright corner cases involved, but it is really no different than publishing your screed in the New York times or your local paper. There is no way to unpublish it, and no way to prevent it being archived.

  • Re:404 Not Found (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 23, 2013 @03:17PM (#44926961)

    I think you'd be better served assuming whenever a case comes before the Supreme Court that the Government has over-stepped its Constitutional authority. Read the Declaration of Independence and see the list of grievances against the King of England and ask yourself do you really think those same people would have wanted the Federal Government to have all the power it currently has?

  • Re:404 Not Found (Score:2, Interesting)

    by admiralh ( 21771 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @05:46PM (#44928497) Homepage

    If you are truly honest you would understand that when you look at the court that it is filled with activist judges who care very little if at all for the Constitution and are just looking to make law that reflects what they want.

    Which Justices advertise themselves as "originalists" who the Constitution as a document chiseled in stone, where all interpretation of current law is based on the Founders' original intent, and then choose to throw that belief away when it's inconvenient? Hint: It's not the "liberals" (not that the Court actually has any liberals, but that's another argument)

    If you think it is just Scalia or just the Conservatives on the court that are evil you are either stupid or a liar

    Please elaborate on what Justices Kagan, Sotomayor, or the other "liberals" have done that is "evil". Or do you always speak in Limbaugh-ian hyperbole?

  • Re:404 Not Found (Score:5, Interesting)

    by admiralh ( 21771 ) on Monday September 23, 2013 @05:53PM (#44928603) Homepage

    Some of them, yes.

    Consider that the Constitution was the *second* attempt to unite the former colonies, since the Articles of Confederation was seen as being way out of balance, with the States having way too much power w.r.t. the Federal Government.

    And remember that the Declaration of Independence was the rhetorical culmination of the battle that started when Parliament wanted the colonists to pay the costs of the French and Indian War, and the rich New England colonists refused.

  • This is because the current IP protocols are Dumb when it comes to data. I mean that with a capital D. Not that the designers are dumb, but the protocol itself is just dumb, in that it knows nothing about the data.

    We suffer from the fact that IPv4 and IPv6 do not have store and forward. Instead of / in addition to endpoint IDs, all the routers need to have a large cache for versioned content. You can still have your frackin' unversioned uncacheable content, however we need a more permanent store and forward service. This will reduce bandwidth consumption, and is essential for bringing the Internet to space it's part of the Interstellar DTN (delay tolerant network).

    Imagine the entire Internet as a hybrid between a decentralized distributed file store, and the current IP stack. Instead of requesting an endpoint we could request the data hash. A distributed hash table could serve the content from within the Internet. ISPs can vastly decrease bandwidth by increasing their cache duplication size (as we have currently), but when a cache miss happens it could be served by another cache in the distributed hash table on up the chain to the origin. "What about updates to documents? My cached pages!" Fools, the doc will have a different hash. We could actually SOLVE issues whereby resource names must be changed by simply requesting them based on their internal content hashes. Additionally, we can fix the issue of mixed secure / insecure content while we're at it. A resource referenced inside a secure document can include THE HASH ID of the resource. Thus, you know the insecure and cacheable content you're pulling in is unmodified...

    Nope, we can't have nice things because you fuckers regard the old farts who designed the current antiquated systems as if they were gods, even though store and forward works beautifully for packet radio. (Hint: The FCC disallows any use of store and forward by unlicensed civilians.) Otherwise we could have a decentralized unsnoopable high-speed (largely) wireless Internet that grows organically with demand with little or no fees (everyone's a node hosting data, buy a box once and you're done).

    The main barriers to solving the problem are ISP greed, draconian copyright laws, and desire for a surveillance state.

    Note, this WILL all happen eventually anyway, you idiots are just too foolish to realize it, so it'll turn out to be a cluster fuck like "The Web" is now because the end result will be evolved by bolting on shite to the current systems over the years instead of being designed with the desired end result problem space in mind. Eg: Colocation fees? WTF? This is a hack to move data closer to endpoints... like store and forward achieves by design.

Friction is a drag.