According to this recent article in the ABA Journal, a recent study found that nearly one-third of the websites cited by the U.S. Supreme Court were nonfunctioning, and another study reported that 70 percent of the web links in the Harvard Law Review from 1999 to 2012 do not work. Though internet links account for a small amount of judicial citations overall, their use is increasing, making the problems with nonworking links more recurrent.

Suggestions for dealing with “link rot” include saving copies of the cited webpages and attaching an appendix with the version of the website to which the author refers. While this approach may work well for webpages that contain only text and still images, movies and MP3 files are more difficult to capture in hard copy form. Researchers are experimenting with preserving Web links through a database, called Perma.cc, which will store permanent caches of links on a public platform.