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Say a guy creates a Patreon for his brother who is a video game designer. A lot of people love his games and he's popular in the community. The guy does not imitate his brother, but instead claims that money donated will be split with him -- however, his brother has no agreement/idea with this.

The Patreon owner would not be stealing from his brother per se since the money sent is to be shared with him whether he knows it or not -- and there's no copyright infringement/intellectual property issues/etc. Given these specifics, would it be illegal to collect Patreon money on behalf of another person's work expectancy, regardless of whether they choose to accept or even know of it?

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The guy does not imitate his brother, but instead claims that money donated will be split with him -- however, his brother has no agreement/idea with this.

That's called Fraud (Wikipedia), "...a deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain..." and will be recognized as such in almost every legal jurisdiction in the world.

At very least, it's against Patreon's Terms of Use: "Fraud - Don’t post information that is false or otherwise misleading. Impersonation - Don’t impersonate anyone. Don’t use another’s account, or allow others to use your account."

The way this would not be fraud is to clearly state on Patreon that you are raising money for your brother, and to involve him in the process and have him choose to accept the money before you start to collect it. If he won't accept the money, don't collect it in the first place.

  • It isnt clear to me what this deception is that you speak of. Is it not possible to split money with someone without telling them in advance? It also isn't clear how this violates the policy. He isn't impersonating anyone or misleading donors. He specifically states who he is and what will be done with the money. – Matt Dec 20 '17 at 15:00

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