An interesting example here is Mark Pilgrim's "Dive into HTML5" book, which he made available free online. Mark closed all of his sites, specifically choosing to return a 410 rather than a 404 status code. The key difference here is that this link rot is intentional and *you* should delete your references to that resource.
Could 410 be formalized into a way of exerting your "right to be forgotten"? Practically, probably not, but it's interesting to think about!
The other point to note is that the community disregard the request and mirrored the book somewhere else.