VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Streaming Media at VCU Libraries


Contact Collections Specialist Megan Goldfarb:

(Mon-Fri, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

Why can't I stream a Kanopy video to my class over Zoom?

Due to copyright, Kanopy requires users to go through user authentication to access Kanopy films. Because screensharing a film over Zoom does not require individual users to log into Kanopy, Zoom participants will see a black screen instead of the film. Kanopy advises professors who would like to discuss a film over Zoom to share the link to the film and have students mute themselves, navigate to another tab of their browser, watch the selected clip, and then come back to the Zoom. If you would like your students to watch select film clips, you can use the clips/playlist feature of Kanopy to create a playlist to share with your students.

About Kanopy

The Kanopy streaming platform features documentary, classic, and independent films for educational use. Content partners include The Criterion Collection, Kino Lorber, A24, New Day Films, Film Movement, Oscilloscope Laboratories, Collective Eye, Grasshopper Films, First Run Features, Magnolia Films, A&E, The History Channel, and PBS, among many others.

Accessing Kanopy

Kanopy can be accessed via the VCU Libraries A-Z Databases page.

Because of the extensive costs of unlimited subscription access in Kanopy, VCU Libraries purchases one-year licenses for individual films when requested by VCU faculty for course use. Film licenses expire after one year and must be requested by faculty again if needed for course instruction. If you plan to show a Kanopy film that is currently accessible, please check the expiration date of the current film license by referencing the Kanopy License Expiration Dates spreadsheet. If the film is set to expire in the middle of course instruction, please contact Megan Goldfarb ( at least one week in advance of the expiration date to ensure continuous access.

Faculty members can request Kanopy films that are not currently licensed by submitting the request form on the page for the film.

Kanopy tools and features

To check when licenses are set to expire, please refer to the Kanopy License Expiration Dates spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is updated regularly to reflect recent changes.

When searching for films in Kanopy, currently licensed films will appear at the top of the results page. Unlicensed films that match the search terms will appear below the licensed films. When searching for a film to see if it is currently licensed, you may have to scroll down to see the results showing unlicensed films.


Film pages for titles that are not currently licensed will appear as follows:

(In this particular example, however, this film is available as a part of our Alexander Street Press subscriptions).

Professors who would like to use a Kanopy video for course instruction should submit the form within Kanopy on the page for the film. Please submit all Kanopy requests at least one week in advance of when you plan to use the film; access is not instantaneous.

To copy a film link, open the page for the film and select "Share" under the video player.




While not the case for all streaming platforms, the "share link" in Kanopy is the same as the URL that appears in your browser's URL bar.

Access Kanopy through the VCU proxy by going to, or by using the link on the library's A-Z Databases page. Offsite users will be prompted to enter their VCU eID and password.

While users can watch licensed films without setting up a Kanopy account, logging into an account is required for making watchlists and playlists.

Users have two options for setting up an account. The first is to use the "Login with Google" option that is presented on the login page, and then enter your VCU email address and password.


The second option is to set up a Kanopy-specific username and password. To do so, select the link that says "Don't have an account yet? Get started." Users will be taken to a page with "Log In" and "Sign Up" buttons in the upper right-hand corner.


Select "Sign Up," then fill out the fields in the "Create Your Account" form.

Users can make playlists in kanopy by selecting the carrot next to their username on the upper right-hand corner. Select "My Dashboard" from the dropdown menu.


The dashboard is the central location for accessing features of your Kanopy profile.


To make a playlist, select "My Playlists," then "Create a new playlist."




To add films to a playlist, you can select "Edit," then "Click here to add a new clip," which will allow you to search for a particular film.


Alternatively, you can search films in the film library, then under the video player select "Create Clip/Playlist."


Logged in users can create and save clips within their saved playlists. If a film is already in a playlist, select "Edit" next to the playlist.

Select "Edit" next to the clip you want to edit.


Enter the start time and stop time for the desired clip. Alternatively, you can scrub through the video to find the desired start time and stop time. Move the player head to the desired start time or stop time and hit "Capture" next to either the "Start Time" or "Stop Time" fields.