Skip to Content

University Libraries

Changes to Kanopy streaming film service coming Feb. 28

UofSC Libraries remain committed to supporting access to films used in course materials

Effective February 28, 2021, University of South Carolina Libraries will change the way we work with Kanopy, a streaming service that offers licensed access to a wide array of documentary and feature films.

With this new arrangement:

  • Films that have already been licensed will continue to be available until the expiration of the license.
  • New Kanopy film licenses will only be purchased for faculty or instructors to provide required course material.

The continually increasing costs of the service led to our decision to adopt this new model. 

We know that Kanopy is a popular and useful resource, but it is important for users to understand that it works very differently than traditional online resources provided by the library.

Kanopy uses what is called a Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) model. This means that the library primarily pays to license films based on what our users access and view within Kanopy, rather than making requests for specific films. We are charged for a new license after any film is played four times and viewed for at least 30 seconds. Each license only provides one year of access. The library does not permanently own any of the films we have paid for through Kanopy.

This model is not sustainable. Although we will be moving away from the PDA model, we remain committed to supporting the provision of course materials across campus and will work with faculty and instructors to provide film access for their students.    

You can use these resources for streaming film requests and questions:

  • Faculty and instructors can make online requests for films.
  • If you are using a film for a class and are concerned about a licensed film’s expiration date, please contact Christian Lear at

Again, films that are already licensed can still be streamed through the Kanopy site. Faculty and students are encouraged to review this list of currently licensed titles and their expiration dates before making a new title request.

The library will not be licensing films through Kanopy if they are not required for a course, but will make every effort to provide access through other services or formats when available. University Libraries supports access to other streaming film services with quality film content. We encourage you to explore the titles on these other streaming platforms. 

For personal access, Richland Library provides access to Kanopy for its library cardholders. Enrolled UofSC students and Richland County residents can learn about obtaining a Richland Library card. Currently, Richland Library offers access to up to 10 Kanopy films per month per user.

For additional questions about using Kanopy for a course or other film streaming services, contact Christian Lear at 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.