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MVC 211: Film Genres (Britton): Streaming Media

Using Streaming Video in Courses: A guide to finding and using streaming media.


Requests to Gain Access to Streaming Media

Armacost Library supports curricular-based streaming media (audio and video) within the constraints of our collections budget, restrictive vendor licensing terms, and the high cost of streaming media ($150-4300 to license a film for one year).

We will do our best to acquire streaming media rights (1-year license or purchase) or find freely-available streaming for your courses.

Please visit our Kanopy FAQ for more information on our mediated purchasing model. Because licenses are for one-year, it is imperative that you work with your subject librarian to ensure a film needed for your upcoming classes will be available.


  • Many films are not available for Armacost Library to lease, purchase and/or stream. Some distributors only allow individual rental/purchase not institutional. And some licenses limit uses of video content. 
  • Securing streaming agreements can be time consuming, it can take weeks/months to license content. Please plan ahead.


Copyright & Fair Use Considerations

If the media hasn't been licensed/purchased for classroom use by Armacost Library, consider whether your use if fair. These tools can help you answer that question. *Disclaimer: Neither these tools nor the Library provide legal advice. 


To err of the side of fair use, we encourage you to follow these practices:

  • Always put the media in your password-protected Canvas site that is only accessible by students enrolled in your course.
  • Use videos that directly relate to your curricula.
  • Use the minimum amounts of films necessary to meet your pedagogical objectives.
  • Transform the video clips into teaching tools. For example, include critical analysis or annotations with the clips you show.
  • Put the clips in your Canvas site only during the days students need to access them for your class.
  • Include notice that the film is protected by copyright. For example, the © symbol and any of the information following it, such as the author's and publisher's names.

Embedding & Linking Streaming Video in Canvas

Whether using video from Kanopy, Vimeo, YouTube, or another vendor, you will likely have two options for making video available in Canvas: linking or embedding. Linking enables viewing of film on the hosting platform (Kanopy, Tubi, Vimeo, etc.). Embedding enables viewing the video within Canvas. Below are basic instructions for both options.

In Canvas, navigate to the Pages tab and click to add a page:

To link out to Kanopy, Vimeo, YouTube or another vendor, click on the link icon, and select External Link...


then, paste the URL link for the video in the Source URL box.


To embed video from Kanopy, Vimeo, YouTube or another vendor, click on the embed icon(it resembles a cloud)...


then, paste the source code into the box. 


Don't forget to Save and Return to Course

Armacost Library Licensed Streaming Audio & Video

Freely Available Streaming Film and Television (not licensed by Armacost Library)

  • Black Film Archive: An evolving archive dedicated to making historically and culturally significant films made from 1915 to 1979 about Black people accessible.
  • Brave New Films: Offers documentary films on social justice subjects free for classroom use (with some strings attached). Plan ahead to schedule availability. 
  • Cabin Fever Videos to Watch: A spreadsheet list of experimental film freely available on Vimeo and YouTube. 
  • Crackle: Ad-supported full length feature films and television.
  • Documentary Heaven: Curate list of a broad range of freely available documentary film.
  • Indigenous Cinema: National Film Board of Canada's online collection of Indigenous-made films.
  • Internet Archive: Not just books! The Internet Archive includes film, television, live concert recordings, and radio. 
  • Korean Classic Film Archive: Collection of classic Korean film made available on YouTube.
  • Library of Congress, Film & Video: Over 8,000 historic film and video streaming online. 
  • Library of Congress, Historical Film Playlists: Curated historical film collections from Library of Congress.
  • Media Burn: Independent video archive, documentaries with a social justice lens.
  • PBS Independent Film Collections: Some films in the various independent films series funded by PBS made freely available.
  • Pluto TV: Ad-supported full-length feature films, television shows, and live television. 
  • Top Documentary Films: Thousands of documentaries available on a wide range of topics. 
  • Tubi TV: Tubi is the world’s largest ad-supported video on demand service with over 20,000 movies and television shows from nearly every major Hollywood studio.
  • WGBH Open Vault: WGBH Media Library and Archives (MLA) provides online access to unique and historically important content produced by the public television and radio station.
  • YouTube: Some movies and television available free with ads. Films also available to rent, usually individual fees. 
  • Vimeo: Some films available free with ads. Films also available to rent, usually individual fees. 

Synchronous Viewing of Media in Canvas

Screening film and video clips synchronously in online classes may disadvantage some of your students. We recommend checking in with your students to be sure they are able to stream media reliably in their residence.

Posting the film, video clips, and audio prior to and after class meetings enable all students to have an opportunity to fully view and listen to film, video clips, and audio when a synchronous screening has been interrupted. 


Contact your Subject Librarian

  • to request licensing or purchase of films and other media
  • for help finding available streaming media
  • to assist with and troubleshoot issues with linking/embedding licensed streaming media
  • copyright and fair use for film/media


Contact Instructional Technology Services:

  • to assist with and troubleshoot issues with Canvas

Credit where due: 

Parts of this guide were reused or adapted from University of Washington University Libraries' Using Streaming Video in Courses