On authors having a right to unpublish
By sommerfeld on Dec 01, 2008
(IMHO fair use includes a right to convert a work legitimately owned into a form that can be conveniently used by the owner of the copy. In his poll: I think all of options 1, 2, and 3 are ethical. 5 is clearly not ethical. And 4 is just silly).
In the ensuing discussion some people have posited that there's some sort of inherent right of authors to unpublish a published work. IMHO that's nonsense. Publication is (or ought to be) irreversible, and the irreversibility is a feature which contributes to the right of authors to say controversial things. Once you publish something, it's out there; your words have a life of their own, and nobody can pressure you to take them back because you have no ability to take them all back.
There's already enough of a problem with libel tourism. It would be far worse if a court could force you to exercise a right to unpublish.