First off, for clarification, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a "top-secret" proposed international trade agreement between several nations that, if passed, aims to update numerous international and national policies to a global standard mainly based on the policies of the United States. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but none of the governments involved have been very forthcoming about what the TPP really involves, which has caused a number of people to become wary and suspicious.
This article was written in response to WikiLeaks
posting an excerpt from the TPP, specifically an excerpt regarding Intellectual Properties, which contain some propositions that could potentially be even more severe for online users than the vehemently-opposed-by-many SOPA. The excerpt can be found here: wikileaks.org/tpp/#start
and the article discussing it can be found here: goboiano.com/original/3219-ani…
I don't pretend to be a legal expert, and it's quite possible that the the article - which is definitely alarmist in tone - is blowing the issue out of proportion and (deliberately?) misinterpreting vaguely worded statements. I've spoken with a guy who says the TPP actually weakens
existing IP laws. That said, there is a clause in the TPP that may
be cause for some concern to people who like dressing up as or drawing fictional characters, among other activities. Said clause is Article QQ.H.7, which states that the governments of countries that have ratified the TPP (for example: United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Brunei, Malaysia, Chile, and Singapore) "may act upon their own initiative to initiate a legal action without the need for a formal complaint by a private party or right holder." Basically, the most common interpretation - one espoused by the article - is that the TPP, if passed in its present form, will make legally grey stuff like cosplay and fan art illegal and prosecutable with severe fines and even imprisonment, even if the copyright holder doesn't file a complaint.
It's certain that this clause is aimed at curtailing serious issues like digital piracy of movies, manga, and other genuinely illicit activities that damage the income of copyright holders and may be occurring without said copyright holder's notice or knowledge. However, it's easy to see how such a vague statement can be given much broader applications depending on how it's interpreted. One worst case scenario is that the article's prediction comes true and sites like YouTube and DeviantArt, and venues like ComicCon are shut down or at least heavily regulated. Again, that's a worst-case
scenario, and it's possible that the article is taking advantage of the secrecy surrounding the TPP to frighten people. After all, there's so much secrecy about what it entails and what has
been revealed is so vaguely and ominously worded that the scope it could potentially cover and its potential for abuse is scary.
The TPP is at currently a proposal stage, so nothing's definite and it's possible - but unlikely - that it may be amended if people living in nations that support the TPP pressure their governments to be more clear on what constitutes copyright infringement. I predict that what's more likely to occur is that people will want to have the TPP thrown out wholesale, like its predecessor.
Speaking of the SOPA, I find it deeply ironic that Obama opposed it but is supporting the TPP, which if the alarmists are correct is even more severe.