Can faculty request the Library acquire streaming films for their courses?


The Library can acquire certain streaming films from a limited number of vendors. The following guidelines and recommendations are intended to help you find the resources that you need and to provide some clarity when the films/episodes/performances cannot be acquired.

The ArtCenter Library has two major resources for acquiring/licensing streaming films:

  • Kanopy – this resource specializes in the Criterion Collection, independent cinema, international cinema, documentaries, as well as many other topics. The Library does not have unlimited viewing of titles offered. If you see a film that you would like to use in class, fill out the request form on the page and the library will purchase a one-year lease for the film. Please keep in mind that are costly and our budget is limited. We ask that you only request films that you are requiring your students to watch. Here’s a video tutorial on how to request a video using our Kanopy subscription.
  • Swank – this resource is good for major movie releases, such as films that you might find on Amazon Prime and Apple TV. Login as an academic instructor (not a student) and select the films you would like us to license for one year. Please keep in mind that these films also are costly. Therefore, only request films that you are requiring your students to watch.
  • We have a few other streaming platforms for your use, especially our newest collection Docuseek2, which is collection of 1800 documentaries that the library now owns permanently (no need to request - just click and watch). Check them out here.
  • We hope to be adding additional content in the future.
  • If you see a film that is on Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Hulu, etc… but you don’t see it on Kanopy and Swank, there is not much that we can do. You will have to ask your students to subscribe to those services in order to watch everything on your syllabus (think of it as a required textbook that they have to buy or materials for a studio class).
  • To reiterate the previous point, universities have a difficult time getting streaming rights to films (there is not much money in it for studios). In addition, universities have very little leverage. It is not from a lack of trying on our part.

A few things to keep in mind when using Kanopy and Swank:

  • Always use the Library’s website to be authenticated and access these resources.
  • You need to know your ArtCenter username and password to use the Library’s streaming services and all other online resources. If you don’t know your username and password contact your department or the IT Help Desk. Unfortunately, we are not authorized to do so.
  • Licensing films can take a few days. Therefore, give yourself a few days lead time to request a film. Same-day acquisition is not reliable.
  • Expanding on the previous point, contact us with your film list well in advance and we will do our best to license them.

Other points to consider:

  • Steaming movies via Kanopy or Swank (or any other service) through Zoom does not work because Zoom does not have enough bandwidth.
  • Some faculty have tried to play a DVD through their computer and share it on Zoom. To the best of our knowledge, no one has had success doing this. 
  • We cannot digitize commercial DVDs as it violates US copyright.


  • Last Updated Sep 11, 2020
  • Views 85
  • Answered By Jennifer Faist

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