PLANS FOR THIS SITE (doaskdotell.com)

 

As of July 1, 2005, most content from hppub.com has been moved to this site. Hppub.com will shut down 7/31/2005. See http://www.doaskdotell.com/hppub for a guide as to locating content quickly. 

 

I want to take a moment to discuss a few issues regarding the future of this site, my books, movie scripts, and the like. The main topics are domain names, revenue, films, and employment.

 

Domain names

 

I provided some discussion of this in July 2004 at this URL. For the time being, these comments still apply. However, I may decide to eliminate hppub.com (highproductivitypublishing.com) by the end of July 2005. If that happens, I will move most of the content to this site (doaskdotell.com), and that content particularly includes the book (and footnote) texts, and the movie/book/drama reviews. Many visitors are used to finding this content at hppub.com, and it could take some time for search engines to reindex these files, but many search engines reindex sites very quickly today. But the hppub domain is supposed to contain materials “closely related” to the three published books. Much unrelated material was already moved to doaskdotell.com on 8/1/2004. 

 

There are a couple of reasons for this. One is practical—to reduce costs. But there are a couple of other more subtle points.

 

One concern is that I have a cooperative publisher to handle my DADT books (except for “Our Fundamental Rights”). I have some legal concerns about keep a domain name that suggests “publishing” if I no longer have a viable publishing operation. Even if my relationship with the publisher were to end (the first book is almost eight years old, which is a long life for political non-fiction), I could distribute the remaining books myself on an informal basis.  There are some proposals to tighten trademark law and discourage the use of domain names for what may be taken as misleading purposes. Eventually, I think, there may be proposals to restrict domain name usage by individuals to suggest an “organization” or “company” rather than an individual.

 

Therefore, I think that I may have a stronger presence if I just keep the stronger name, doaskdotell.com.  I may keep johnwboushka.com as a separate site if I find that I still need the java MySQL database for some material (I may convert it to .NET SQL Server).

 

Revenue

 

Let me state again that I think that my collection of content is unique and valuable. I provide commentary about many social and political issues and show how they are linked in structured arguments based ultimately upon the organization of my three books. Unlike commercial news sites of large media companies, I try to “connect the dots.” I took this on as an unsupervised, self-published “amateur” partly because more established media interests would not, and because conventional organizations supporting devil liberties or other related causes tended to lack intellectual objectivity.

 

As anyone can expect, it is not feasible to provide the public with this large mass of free content forever. In the long run, there are some dangers. One is the domain name issue, mentioned up above (perhaps exacerbated by the proposed Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2005). Other concerns have to do with bad actors in the Internet community. The possibility exists that a controversial domain could be hijacked by clever enough hackers (this is more than just conventional viruses, worms and spoofing) and used to traffic illegal content, possibly to frame the owner (this happens in one of my screenplay scripts). Another could be that a domain is considered an “attractive nuisance” if it attracts hecklers and hackers. The downstream liability provisions in the Patriot Act and in various proposed revisions can figure in to this. Still another is that the file sharing litigation now before the Supreme Court could force ISPs eventually to take on more secondary downstream liability for what their shared hosting customers do. Still another would be censorship to protect minors, as the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) goes to retrial. There have been proposals to regulate bloggers indirectly as part of campaign finance reform. There are likely to be calls to regulate the collection of data about people, and this could indirectly affect bloggers if regulations are carelessly drafted. Various other concerns, like zoning, exist. All of these concerns may sound largely (following an Ashton Kutcher joke on Jay Leno) “hypothetical,” but they do pressure a content provider like me to find means of revenue to support his operation for the long run. I also have concerns about conflict of interest in the employment area, as noted in a section below.

 

There are some ideas I have to deal with this. One would be to develop a new “commercial” site (with a more appropriate commercial name) to host content that would attract advertisers (such as those on Linkshare). This content might include:

 

· Movies, book and drama reviews with particular focus on “connecting the dots”. For example, unlike the case with most movie sites, reviews could be grouped according to the political or social problem addressed by a particular collection of films. I find that I can attract visitors by reviewing obscure or very small films often ignored by major media sources, and I find that the public does have a demand for this.

 

· Social studies education cross references for college and more advanced high school students and teachers. In my own school and substitute teaching experience, I find that students need more “hooks” to understand how a historical event has relevance to a “parallel” issue today. For example, there are hidden parallels between conscription for past wars and the military gay ban today, or between attempts to control free speech with sedition laws at various times in the past with the Patriot Act today.

 

· Databases to organize study of some particular issues such as

  ·· “don’t ask don’t tell”

  ·· downstream liability associated with technical and security problems on the Internet

  ··  free speech and issues like censorship, the “culture wars” and national security

 

It is important to select the best technology for such projects. Are they best done, for example, with an all purpose tool like Visual Studio .NET or with are more specific web development package?

 

It is expected that any customer data (like credit card numbers) would be handled by a third party with enough economy of scale for proper security. My domains do not contain any customer or visitor information (that could be hacked).

 

Films

 

I have developed a number of possible motion picture scripts of varying lengths (four are of feature length and at least two more could be expanded to “small feature” length), as well as a prototype sketch of a video documentary (including an hour lecture from 1998). The scripts explore, in various ways, some of the niches and issues brought up in the DADT books. They seem to attract considerable traffic.

 

Of course, any writer has pride of ownership in his own work. I am no exception. If a commercial motion picture investor (or one of its agents) is interested in one or more of these scripts, I would of course want to work with the investor of possible. I realize that in the “real world” almost any commercially viable motion picture project would involve professional rewriting and shoot-scripting, and even additional story development and conceptualization. One or more of the ideas could be adopted, for example, as a television series (emphasizing “young adult” or teen drama as is popular today with several major series today)  as well as feature film.  For anything like that, major professional attention would be welcome.

 

I understand that the film industry has a “third party rule” for legal protection, but I also understand that agents now can work with scripts that authors make available on the Internet. Were one of these scripts to sell, I would expect it to be necessary to work with the production company or investor group as a contractor to assist with money-raising, casting, content editing, rewriting, information technology support, and film production issues. I am also looking at the possibility of producing one of the “micro scripts” (very short, “micro budget” digital video films) with my own resources.

 

Employment

 

As I have indicated at various places on my sites, I am using a low-cost low-capital public space (the World Wide Web) to gain visibility, that is, for “self-promotion.” I would not be able to do this if I took on certain kinds of employment, such as management jobs with direct reports, jobs in which I make decisions about customers, or jobs where I promote a particular company publicly—that is, must behave in a brand-loyal manner in public. Generally, in-house “individual contributor” technical jobs (admittedly, many of these have been offshored and they are becoming harder to get without a lot of specialized commitment) do not create this conflict of interest, and contractor or freelance jobs are less likely to create conflicts than salaried jobs with full benefits. Besides legal conflicts, another concern is objectivity and credibility as a writer—this is a core personal value for me.  (I don’t let others “give me the words,”; I create the words.) Although I do not believe such an employment conflict is imminent, I cannot rule it out. In some situations, it might be possible to leave core content (such as book text and notes) up as long as it is not updated again after taking such a job. In such an environment, book and screenplay manuscripts would have to be circulated with agents in an industry-conventional manner (that is, strictly “privately”). This is another reason why revenue is an important issue.

 

Of course, some of the “hypothetical” issues that I mention above, should they become more real, could provide employment opportunities. After all, they represent problems that can be solved, with both technology and public policy.

 

 

April 28, 2005

 

Bill Boushka

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