Carnival Cruise Lines will allow travel agents to use its branded trademarks on social media forums like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace as well as on blogs.

"A travel agency may use Carnival’s property in social media websites ... for the purposes of communicating information about Carnival," the new policy says.

The policy prohibits travel agents from using Carnival Cruise Lines’ trademarks in any "username, account name, profile name, screen name ... which may confuse consumers as to whether travel agency is acting on behalf of Carnival or is endorsed by Carnival."

Carnival established the new policy after deciding in December that beginning in 2010, travel agents would not be allowed to use any of its trademarked words like "Fun Ships," "Carnival Cruise" or the names of its ships in any social media forums.

For example, that policy would have prohibited a travel agent from sending a Tweet saying, "I’m sailing on the Carnival Dream."

The line reversed the policy days later, after a report on travel technology news website Tnooz questioned whether Carnival was trying to "muzzle social media."

In a Tnooz report on the new policy last week, Carnival Chief Marketing Officer Jim Berra, said, "We have tried to clearly communicate that we encourage and support travel agencies’ use of social media. The only intent of the social media policy was to prevent people from inappropriately representing themselves as Carnival — versus a travel agency promoting Carnival product. The legalese in the previous version was way beyond the intent."

 The first social media policy was written at the same time as a policy prohibiting travel agencies from bidding on Carnival trademarks as keywords in online search engines. That policy still stands.


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