For whatever reason Mark Pilgrim decided to remove all of his content from the web (Infocide, I think is the term) in a fashion not to dissimilar to the way in which _why departed himself from the tech world.
I purchased a copy of Mark Pilgrim’s HTML5 Up and Running so I’ll always have it at hand, but I can no longer use the site as resource to point other people to. This is fine, I had no contract with the author and it was cool of him to even put it up for everyone in the first place.
I do however have a contract with Spotify. I pay for their monthly service and I created an account with them. Recently they went crazy and started only allowing new people to sign up via Facebook, which means if you choose not to have a Facebook account, then you can’t access spotify.
This doesn’t impact me, but what if they extend this requirement so all users are required to have a Facebook account? What does that mean to my consumption of the Spotify service? It means that I can’t access the service, because I choose not to have a Facebook account.
Whether it’s because a company has decided to remove content or access for business reasons or whether it’s because an individual has decided for whatever reason they see fit the net effect is still the same - Gone.
Physical is no better or worse than digital, but they are two totally different beasts. Digital isn’t always best because one day you’re going to wake up and find that something you rely on is no longer there, or to put it another way - HTTP 410 Gone.