Changes to Kanopy Streaming Service

Effective August 21, 2019, Harvard Library has moved to a mediated access model for Kanopy, a wide-ranging documentary and independent film streaming service. The model going forward will allow new licensing requests only for course-related films and will continue to allow access to already-licensed films. Increasing costs of the service led to our decision to adopt this new model.

Knowing how popular this service is with our faculty and students, we did not make this decision lightly. Because of the service’s popularity, however, our annual expenditure for the platform has more than quadrupled in the past three years with continued increases expected going forward.

Kanopy’s business model is based on the number of views per title, and three views of any film results in a charge to the library of $135 for a one-year license. This model is, unfortunately, unsustainable for Harvard Library as the platform becomes more popular and annual costs become unpredictable.

The following changes have taken place under the new model:

  • New Kanopy film licensing requests will only be granted to faculty for required course material and for doctoral dissertations.
    • Faculty can make purchase requests here.
    • If you are using a film for a class and are concerned about a licensed film’s expiration date, please submit a request for assistance on the Harvard Library website.
    • If it is not necessary to stream a film, the library will purchase a DVD copy instead.
  • Existing Kanopy licensed films can still be found on the platform and are listed in HOLLIS.
  • Requests for non-course related films will not be licensed through Kanopy. Harvard Library will assist in providing access via other platforms or formats. 

Harvard Library has a number of other streaming services with quality film content available for your use. We encourage patrons to explore the titles we already have in HOLLIS and on other film streaming platforms.

For additional questions about using Kanopy for a course, or about Harvard Library’s film streaming services, contact Reed Lowrie at