You are here:

Writing Books/Question about quotations


Hi Susan.  I am making a calendar and I want to use quotes from other people in it.  How do I have to site the person the quote has come from in order to be legal?  Thank you for your help and time!

Hi Theresa!

You have not said what you intend to do with this calendar. If you are only going to hang it up on your wall, no worries.

However, if you are going to publish and try to sell it, that's another ball game entirely. Most authors do not object if you use a sentence or two, or a few phrases, assuming you give credit. In a novel or non-fiction work this would probably be tolerated (I'm no lawyer, mind) as most such works don't sell enough copies to make it worthwhile to take the authors to court. When my brother opened a real estate office, he stupidly copied a logo from a famous brand. He thought he could get away with it because we lived in a small town. But within weeks he received a "cease and desist" letter from the firm's lawyer.

A calendar, of course, is not a novel, or a logo. Beyond the numbers, the quotes are all that's there, and they'll be very obvious (this also goes for whatever art you may want to include).

What I would do would be to use quotes that are in the public domain, meaning their authors have been dead for at least 100 years. There are plenty of them! A look at BARTLETT'S QUOTATIONS will give you plenty of quotes. Thus you remove all threat of lawsuit.

If I did not want to do this, I would choose being safe over not bothering, and write for permission.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 250+ questions.

And good luck with your calendar!

Writing Books

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

©2016 All rights reserved.