Comment on Bram Stoker – The Rose Prince by Classic Literature.
Anything released into the public domain including the Bram Stoker The Rose Prince story is out of copyright. Anyone can use the entire story however they like, you could take this story, make no changes, put it in a book and sell it as a Bram Stoker book or your own book.
Or do what I’ve done put it on a website, there are no limitations. Could change all the character names, the settings, anything you like. If you make significant modifications the new work is then protected under copyright law: someone else can’t copy your modifications.
That does not mean the title “The Rose Prince” isn’t part of another copyright work. Someone else could have a book with that title that’s still in the copyright period.
I’m not an expert on copyright law, my understanding is if you wrote a book called “The Rose Prince” and by luck (bad luck) there is another book with the same title AND a very similar story which to a court could be viewed as confusing/as passing of, then you could have issues. Unless you are meaning to do this, it’s highly unlikely.
That being said, if you are writing a unique book which just so happens to have a title used by others it’s not a copyright infringement per se. Take this webpage, it’s a story with no copyright with title “The Rose Prince”, if there’s another book with the title this Bram Stoker story isn’t a copyright issue because it’s a unique story and since it was published in 1881 there’s no way a court would accept it could be passed off as another story that’s still in copyright.
Even when books like Barry Trotter (parody of Harry Potter) are clearly created to profit from the popularity of another book, copyright law doesn’t stop their creation as a matter of course.
If it were me I’d try to find a unique title for your book, it’s hard enough getting a book published etc… without having to compete with the title already being used for a book out of copyright.
I work as an SEO consultant (I understand how Google works). Search Google for “The Rose Prince” (include the speech marks: that’s looking for the exact phrase) and there’s ~120,000 webpages found. If you publish a new book with that title, when people search for your book (without the speech marks) they are going to find this page at a the top (this page is number 1 in Google) and I’ll get some of your traffic. SEO wise you will have to put some effort in just to ranked for your book title in Google simply because another book already has that title.
There’s also a series of cookery books by someone calling themselves the “Rose Prince” with a domain targeting the name “Rose Prince”, you are going to be competing with them as well.
If I were publishing the Bram Stoker book today I’d look for a unique title like “Prince Zaphir The Giant Killer”: a unique title, no one has a book by that title, not even close. If you’ve read the story it’s clearly based on the David and Goliath Bible story.
Good luck with your book.