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Requesting Videos on Kanopy

A guide to requesting films available on Kanopy.

Kanopy Request Form

The process for requesting a film in Kanopy can be found in the brief video below:

You will see this form appear for any films you select that the library is not currently licensing. In the message field, please include the course name (e.g., English Composition, Oral Communication) and course number (e.g., ENGL 1020, COMM 2381) for which you will use the film OR if you need the film for academic research purposes.

Unsure if the University of Memphis has the license to a specific film? Worried a license you requested for a previous course is about to expire? You can always double check access and license expiration dates by looking at the following document:

If you are a faculty member or an instructor of a course and the film you are looking for is not found on the Kanopy film licenses document, no need to worry, you can request the library purchase a 1-year license by following the steps covered in this video.

**Remember, because the library purchases licenses yearly, your film license may expire before you teach a course a second time. If this happens please request your film license again. The library will happily renew our license**  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can request to purchase a film license?

The library will only purchase a film license at the request of a faculty member or an instructor of a course. Due to budget constraints the library cannot accommodate student requests at this time and any student purchase requests will be denied. If you are a student requesting a film license because viewing is required for a course you're taking, please contact your instructor and ask that they submit a Kanopy request on behalf of your class.  

Can I show a film at an extracurricular event, outside of the classroom?

Though, as an instructor, you can show any Kanopy film as part of a course, not every film can be shown at a public extracurricular event. If you are interested in showing a film outside of the classroom, your film needs a specific Public Performance Rights license. To learn more about PPR and Kanopy read further on this page.  

What do I do if I want to assign a film for next semester?

Submit your request. The earlier the better so that we can budget for it. We will try to accommodate your requests as best as we can. We recommend submitting requests at least 3-5 days in advance of when it's needed, to allow us time to process the request.

What can I request from Kanopy?

The University Libraries will only lease films for course use. We will not lease films for recreational or general viewing. Our limited budget only allows us to support academic use of streaming video. You are welcome to view any already licensed content but requests for personal use will not be approved. 

How do I request a license for a new Kanopy film?

If you click on a film title in Kanopy and see the Kanopy request form, it means we don’t currently have access. Complete this form and it will be sent to a University of Memphis librarian for processing. Please make your request at least 3 -5 working days before you need the film and include the following information to the extent possible:

  • Course name and number for which you will use the film 
  • Date needed

What happens after I make the request? How long will it take to get the film? 

The request is forwarded to Electronic Resources Management team, who will determine if the title is available in any other collection before approving in Kanopy. It takes at least 1-2 working days for the order to be processed in the Library and another day for it to be made available by Kanopy. Thus, we recommend submitting requests at least 3-5 days in advance of your need so we can make sure that you have access in time. Requests made over the weekend or after hours will be processed the next working day. Once the film is available, a librarian will email you a link to your film. 

More questions?

Please contact the Electronic Resources Department (, Electronic Resources Librarian, if you have any questions or problems using the site.


NOTE: Kanopy overview and FAQ text adapted with permission from Kutztown University.

Kanopy Access Changes (as of 12/1/2020)

Kanopy is a very popular online streaming service at University of Memphis. University Libraries began offering Kanopy in 2017, making a number of high-quality documentaries and feature films from sources like Janus Films (Criterion Collection) and the Media Education Foundation available to the University of Memphis community through what is known as a patron-driven acquisition program (PDA).

Kanopy's PDA Program (2017-2020)

Our previous Kanopy model involved a PDA (patron-driven acquisition) program. A PDA program allows users to decide what films the library licenses. Four views of a film trigger a one-year lease of the title. Kanopy defines a view as a single viewing of a film for more than 30 seconds. On the fourth viewing, the film is “triggered” and a purchase is made by the Library. The purchased film is licensed for unlimited campus wide use for one year. The trigger happens behind the scenes and the viewer is unaware when a film is triggered. This limited window of 30 seconds means that films can be triggered even if they are not watched to completion and without approval from a librarian. Over the years this caused the annual cost of Kanopy licenses to skyrocket beyond what is sustainable for the University Libraries' budget.

Moving Forward

In order to retain Kanopy as a resource to support the academic programs at University of Memphis, the University Libraries moved to Kanopy’s Mediated Program for Spring 2021. Current University of Memphis students, faculty, and staff will continue to have unlimited access to films that are already licensed (until their expiration date). However, any unlicensed films must be requested via the online Kanopy form.

Requests from faculty for use in teaching are first priority. Requests are received by library staff, who determine if the title is available in any existing collection. If a title is not already available, we will forward a request to Kanopy to license the film. This process takes 3-5 business days, so we recommend that faculty plan ahead to ensure that the titles they want are available when needed. In summary, Kanopy is not going away, but it is no longer an on-demand service so that we can better control our streaming video costs.

Kanopy's Mediated Model (2020-onward)

The mediated option, which went into effect on 12/1/2020, will display a request form for any films in the collection that we do not already license. Faculty are asked to complete this form. In the message field, specify the use, including what course you will be using it for, whether it is for an in-class screening or for individual viewing outside of class, and a need by date. Once received, we may email you for additional information before the library licenses the film. Please note that all currently licensed films will still be available for instantaneous viewing; the form will only be presented when clicking on unlicensed films.

About Licenses

Although Kanopy is different from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon they do share one similarity – they only license content, they do not sell content. When we purchase a license from Kanopy or any other streaming video provider, we are licensing the content, but do not own the content. Licenses permit access for a defined period of time, in the case of Kanopy, we primarily purchase 1-year licenses but have the option to purchase a 3-year license. If you have a film that you anticipate using over several semesters, let us know so that we can consider a multi-year license, which will save us money. Our licenses with Kanopy permit individual viewing from on or off-campus, course-related screenings, and even campus screenings to students, faculty, and staff.