9 Streaming Media Overview

Elsa Loftis

The University Library provides access to thousands of streaming video and music files from multiple providers. Search for streaming media content.

If you need streaming media files put on course reserves, fill out the course reserves form.

We understand that you have specific ideas regarding streaming media content you want to use for your courses. Our collection of streaming films comes from subscription services such as Academic Films Online, Films on Demand, and Docuseek, to name a few. We also license films on a title by title basis as we are able. You can request titles we do not have readily available from your subject liaison or through the suggest a purchase form. We will work with our vendors and film distributors to secure streaming licenses for requested content when available, but please understand that streaming media can be very costly, especially for feature films. Under normal circumstances, we will purchase one year licenses for a film. If a film has a limited license, you will see an expiration date for the film in the PSU Library Catalog record. Sometimes we are able to purchase licenses for longer periods, such as three years, or the life of a file, but this can be prohibitively expensive. However, if the film requested is of enduring value in our collection, please note this in your request.

The library is glad to offer thousands of streaming films to support your courses. If you intend to require viewing of a film that the library does not currently provide, we will try to locate an educational streaming license in certain cases. Due to budgetary restrictions, however, should a requested film be available for rental from a commercial platform such as Amazon/Netflix/etc., the library cannot provide a license. Students will have to make their own arrangements for access.

Like with online ebooks, not all streaming media content is made available for institutional purchase and the majority of commercially produced streaming content found on streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Hulu, & Netflix is not available for the PSU Library to supply. Some feature films produced overseas may be difficult to secure licensing for if there are no U.S. distributors. In addition, many of the historic documentaries produced by PBS and WGBH are not available for purchase by institutions. Network television shows are also extremely difficult to locate for educational licensing. In these cases, students may have to make their own arrangements to stream content (often by paying rental fees to commercial platforms or subscribing to services like Disney+ or Amazon Prime, etc.). For film-intensive courses, this might be seen as a textbook cost, but if you would like to avoid having your students using commercial vendors for educational content, please work with your subject liaison to find alternatives.

Due to budget constraints, we may not be able to offer individual film licensing beyond our subscribed content. The PSU Library has outlined a policy that includes criteria for purchasing. You can find more specific information here: https://guides.library.pdx.edu/usingfilm

Several of our streaming media providers license films to the PSU Library with Public Performance Rights (PPR), but in some cases, those rights are not part of the license. Please note, you do not need PPR to show a film in a class, but it is required if you are doing a film festival or showing a film in a community area. If you are unsure, or you have any other questions about streaming media, please consult Elsa Loftis, Acquisitions Librarian, at eloftis@pdx.edu.


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Streaming Media Overview Copyright © by Elsa Loftis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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