Nowadays, it’s quite popular to see a key with a “do not duplicate” stamp on them and people often wonder whether it is illegal to copy a key with such a mark. To answer these questions, we must first clarify that there are two types of “do not duplicate” keys, whereas the first group can hardly be copied, while the second requires little to no efforts at all.

“Do not duplicate” key

“Do not duplicate” Key Control

Always look for companies that share a “key control” protocol. With key control, only approved people will have a copy of the key and only a specific locksmith will be able to duplicate them. That way, you can be sure that your keys aren’t copied by unethical employees, guaranteeing the safety of your property.

When it comes to key stamping, it is considered the most inexpensive option to safeguard the key. Licensed companies and legitimate locksmiths won’t copy those keys, but the fact is that nothing prevents them to do so (some might do it “off the grid”). For something more secure, you have to look for a superior option.

Restricted Keys

The restricted keys require a permission to duplicate due to the fact that they have patents on them and only approved companies can manufacture those keys. That’s why businesses often search for high-security restricted keys that can hardly be duplicated.

In most cases, the producer of the restricted key owns a unique equipment required to cut it. That’s why, only the approved manufacturers will be able to produce them, hence they are forbidden for duplication.

However, the security of the key isn’t guaranteed with the “do not duplicate” engraving. What can make a key hard to replicating is the way it was created. The Associated Locksmiths of America have a policy on “DND” keys, which says that these keys provide a false sense of security and nothing separates them from the normal keys. In fact, some locksmiths sell them at premium prices due to the client’s lack of information.

Unrestricted Keys

The unrestricted key is the standard key used by most households. They don’t require patents, permissions or special equipment to be created. Actually, you can find them at any hardware store and even larger retail chains.

This allows the locksmith to do the key duplication without any questions asked. Of course, some individuals might turn down the offer if it’s against their terms of service, but the chances are that you’ll get the key copied without hassle.

How to duplicate a restricted “Do not duplicate” key

How to duplicate a restricted “Do not duplicate” key

The “do not duplicate” keys require specific documentation to be copied by licensed locksmiths. In fact, it might be necessary to find the original creator of the key, because sometimes the keys are harder to duplicate due to lack of special instructions or specific equipment.

if you have decided to contact the original keys maker, you will need to provide the following information:

  1. Name the individual, who will duplicate the key
  2. Which is the key that’s being replicated
  3. How many duplicates can be made
  4. Contact details of the person giving the copying permission

Unrestricted keys can easily be duplicated as they don’t require any special equipment or instructions. What saves your key from being duplicated is only the moral of the locksmith.

So … what does it take to make a key secured?

To provide a premium service and added security, manufacturers have made some their products harder to copy. As we’ve said above, companies invest in specialized equipment to cut the keys and monitor their distribution. These companies provide the  licenses to only trusted key partners, ensuring both quality and protection

In the end, it doesn’t matter how sophisticated your key is if you have a standard lock. If you search on Youtube, you will find that a standard 5-pin lock can be picked in two minutes without many efforts.

That’s why, some companies created locks with extra pins, tight tolerances, dimples and angles. Furthermore, they implement highly durable materials to prevent the breakage of the lock with brute force. As you know, thieves are creative and nothing can stop them. So, if they can’t pick a lock, they will most likely try to destroy it and enter the property anyway.

That’s why we highly recommend buying both a premium lock and a key. Of course, it all depends on how badly you wish to protect your assets from unauthorized access. We advise you to read the benefits of owning a fingerprint door lock.