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Kanopy FAQ: Home

Kanopy update March 2023

 As of March 17, 2023, the Library is limiting purchases to content selected and requested by faculty to support teaching and learning. We are implementing this faculty mediated model because the budget to support our patron-driven acquisition (PDA) plan -- whereby any faculty/staff or students can select content and thereby "trigger" a $150 USD licence -- reached its limit in early March 2023. Users of Mount Allison's Kanopy service will now see a message saying "streaming is currently limited at your library." Any films to which the Library has already obtained a licence will remain available for unlimited viewing until the film's lease expires. Kanopy's vast list of other films, however, will be available only if the Library buys licences for these films, which faculty can request. 


General Questions
Making a Film Request
Other Film Databases
More Information

General Questions

Doesn't Kanopy work like Netflix?

No. Kanopy has a vast catalogue of films, but the Library must buy access to any film you view. Many films in Kanopy require requests for access because we do not yet own licences to them. Some films that faculty have requested have perpetual or multi-year licences and will play automatically. A third, curated pool of Kanopy films will also play automatically even though the Library does not yet have licences to them. These films are part of a "patron-driven acquisition" (PDA) program. It has a set budget to pay for patron-triggered film purchases, up to a certain amount. When that budget reaches its maximum, all unlicenced films in this list revert to access-by-request only. We are limiting these requests to faculty who require the films for teaching and learning.

What does leasing or licensing a film mean?

Kanopy offers a variety of licence options, but the default term is a 12-month licence typically costing $150 USD. At the end of the 12 months, the film returns to the “free range” unlicensed pool of content. If users trigger a sufficient number of plays, then another $150 USD licence will be activated and paid for by the Library. Essentially, we pay for anything viewers watch.


Why are some Kanopy films available without request?

Films from certain academic distributors are provided in a curated pool of content that can be triggered and invoiced without a mediated request. Also, films the Library has already licensed are available until the term of their licences expire, at which point they will either return to the curated pool if they match the criteria for automatic licence triggers, or they will return to the general mediated pool which will require a purchase request for another licence.


Do faculty need to resubmit requests for films used in annual courses?

If a film is frequently used for educational or research purposes, faculty may contact the relevant subject librarian to discuss the most appropriate licence options to suit their needs.


How can I tell if a film is available?

If a film plays, it is available; however, we recommend you contact your subject librarian to ensure the licence will remain active if you need the film on a later date. If a licence is not available for automatic purchase, you will see a pop-up box enabling you to request access.


Can I preview films?

No. Some films have trailers and clips, and others do not.


Does Mount Allison provide any other streaming services?

Yes! Mount Allison provides access to many film databases in addition to Kanopy. Unlike Kanopy, these other film databases operate on a standard subscription model whereby we pay a yearly fee for access to all their content. The three main databases are Audio Cine Films, AVON, and Criterion on Demand. A full list of film databases can be found here.

Film Quarterly provides the following analysis of Kanopy and its costs:

Kanopy article in Film Quarterly

Other Film Databases

Making a Request

How do I make a request?

Faculty can request access to films for their classes, research and learning. If you attempt to play a film from the mediated portion of the Kanopy catalogue, you will be prompted to complete a request form.

If you are requesting a film that will be used in a course that will be offered annually, you can also contact your subject librarian to arrange a multi-year licence or a perpetual licence, if available.


What happens after I submit a request?

The request goes directly to our Technical Services & Systems Librarian and our librarians at the Research Help Desk. The librarian will first confirm that the film is not already available in one of the Library's other film databases.

If Kanopy is the only option, the librarian will approve films needed for academic purposes as funds permit. You will be notified once the film is available within Kanopy.


How far in advance should I request a film?

Please aim to request films two or three business days in advance of when you need them. If a film is requested on a weekend or holiday, the request will not be viewed until the next business day.


What should I do if a film's licence expires before I need it?

If you contact the library in advance, we can renew the licence. Please send an e-mail to your subject librarian or with the film's current link, the course or research project you need it for, and the date you intend to use the film.


My question is not answered here.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Research Help Desk at