The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Wall Communications has hit the nail on the head with its recommendations for creating sustainable cultural content online. If it’s the federal government’s intention to wean its cultural agencies from the taxpayers’ teat, it has as an option to adopt a user-driven approach, possibly creating content mostly on an on-demand and for-pay basis. While workable, it’s clearly unpalatable both to users and to Canadian Heritage officials. A viable alternative to user fees, though, is public/private partnerships – another potential way to create a sustainable online cultural initiative identified by the report. There are areas where private operation of public undertakings makes sense. In some cases, contracting the operation of agencies such as libraries, recreational facilities, or digital libraries of cultural content to the private sector can exert free-market discipline on undertakings and make the most efficient use of public funds. There will never be a letting up of demand on the public purse for monies to build online archives of our history, to cite one example. Could those undertakings be more efficiently run by the private sector, however? Are there creative ways to use copyright as a carrot to reduce the amount of public funding that must be built into a contract to create incentive for companies to take on the task? Could we reduce the amount of tax dollars going into programs such as the Canadian Culture Online Program, while still maintaining free services at their current or greater levels to the public by finding innovative models to give the private sector the wriggle room to use the content it creates in other, profitable ways? Would civil servants jump at the chance to become entrepreneurs, applying the skills they’ve learned to their greater personal benefit? The downloading of services and massive spending cuts of the early- to mid-‘90s created the user fee nightmare with which Canadians have long been fed up. Though a user fee approach might certainly create a more sustainable industry, Canadians have every right to expect that their history won’t be sold to them at a nickel a page hit. Alternatives must be explored.