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What Is a Do Not Duplicate Key?

what is a do not duplicate key
Last Updated on August 5, 2022
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It’s the first day of your new job, and you’re at orientation. Your boss gives you a tour of the building, although it’s not too big, it is still good to get a feel for the place before beginning.

After the tour, you and four other co-workers are given a key by your boss’s assistant, and you observe the key. Your boss tells you all that it is a “Do Not Duplicate” key and in your mind you are wondering, “What is a Do Not Duplicate Key?”

A “Do Not Duplicate” key is a key that has the words “Do Not Duplicate” stamped at the top. If you receive one of these keys, then this means that you are not allowed to duplicate it under any circumstance, as it is the owner's key and not yours. However, a “Do Not Duplicate” key is not legally binding, so it is not a requirement for businesses, etc. to have these keys, but they can be beneficial.

Keep reading to learn more about what a do not duplicate key is and what the benefits are.

What is a Do Not Duplicate Key?

do not duplicate key

Do Not Duplicate keys are keys that contain the words “Do Not Duplicate” engraved at the top of a person’s key. If the owner of the key has this engraved, then you are not allowed to get the key copied.

Do Not Duplicate keys are typically used for security purposes for the protection of homeowners or businesses when they hire employees. To have access to these keys, you will need to get into contact with your local locksmith.

Locksmiths are often asked or told to stamp the phrase “Do Not Duplicate” on the owner's keys since they are one of the very few businesses that are able to do this.

And, although it is not legally binding, with as many cons there are pros to having "Do Not Duplicate" keys, as well. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of having a Do Not Duplicate key.

Benefits of Having a Do Not Duplicate Key

People, in general, like to have a sense of security. Whether it is to have cameras set around your house or business, having a two-step authentication for a password to your email, etc. having an object such as the “Do Not Duplicate” key can have major benefits for a lot of people. Keep reading to learn about the five benefits of owning a Do Not Duplicate key.

Sense of Security

There is a sense of security in having a Do Not Duplicate key. With the knowledge that it would be near impossible for someone to make a copy of your key, there is a sense of relief. So, if someone were to steal your car keys, and within it contains your house keys, then they will not be able to create a duplicate copy.

This sense of security of knowing that someone is not able to copy your Do Not Duplicate key, leaves you with peace of mind, because you have the knowledge of how many of these keys exist and reminds you to change your locks, immediately.

Cost-Effective & Convenient

It is more cost-effective to have a Do Not Duplicate copy key for yourself. Having a spare key for your home, business, safe, and your car can serve as a good backup plan if you happen to lose your original copy of your key.

So, if you are stuck outside of your house or car, having lost your key then you’ll know that you have a Do Not Duplicate key with you that can serve as a spare. This saves you plenty of time from having to wait for a nearby person, or a locksmith, to come and help you.

Another example that can be given is if you are trying to open your car or house, and, for whatever reason, your key breaks. Having a Do Not Duplicate key can save you time, and money, from having to call for help and you can use your spare key.

Only a Few People in Your Life Will Have This Key

Whether it’s friends or family, you will have the knowledge of only a few people in your life having a spare key with this phrase. This gives you the knowledge of how many of these keys that you’ve had distributed and handed out. If you have to leave out of town, then you can have a friend or family, with their spare key, check on the house periodically.

The Key Stands Out

Next to a regular key, a Do Not Duplicate key can regularly stand out. Unlike a regular key, the Do Not Duplicate keys are usually stamped, or engraved, at the top of your key. Typically, business owners, homeowners, car owners, etc. are the target audience for purchasing these keys.

Not Allowed to Make Copies

Unless you are the owner of a Do Not Duplicate key, you are not allowed to make a copy of the key(s) per the owner's orders. If a business owner fires an employee and insists on them having their Do Not Duplicate key back, then they will have to comply, and other businesses would not be able to make a copy of the key.

Unlike the person that receives the duplicate was actually the owner, then it will be more difficult for them to get a copy of the Do Not Duplicate key. For someone to go through the lengths of having a copy of these keys made, there are specific questions that would be asked to the person that is not the owner of the Do Not Duplicate Key.

Now, although the owners can voice how others are not allowed to make a copy of their Do Not Duplicate key does not mean that the person will listen. This is equivalent to telling a child that they are not allowed to do a specific thing, but, curious enough, they do so anyway. Yes, there can be a difficult process to duplicate a key, but it is not impossible.

Keep reading to find out if it is illegal to duplicate a Do Not Duplicate key and how you can duplicate them if you could.

Is It Illegal to Duplicate a Do Not Duplicate Key?

No, it is not illegal to duplicate a Do Not Duplicate Key. Since it is not legally bound to have one of these keys, it would not be illegal for someone to duplicate the original owner's key nor a copy of the Do Not Duplicate key that they receive from them.

If someone wants to try and make a copy of a Do Not Duplicate key, then they would have to be prepared to answer a few questions, for proper authorization, to a locksmith about the key’s original owner on the company’s letterhead. These questions include:

  • Name of the person that has been given permission to duplicate, and pick up, the key.
  • What key is allowed to be duplicated?
  • How many copies of the keys?
  • The key owners' contact information.

Locksmith shops are more willing to duplicate a Do Not Duplicate key as long as you are able to provide the proper authorizations. However, hardware stores are more reluctant to make duplicates, despite the chain stores selling locks, due to corporate policy.

So, just like a regular key, in essence, your Do Not Duplicate key is no more special than a regular one. To truly ensure that your keys are not being duplicated, be sure that you are keeping your keys in a safe place.

However, unlike restricted keyways locks, a Do Not Duplicate key is easier to duplicate. Restricted keyways are more expensive and have better security unlike a Do Not Duplicate key. Keep reading to learn more about restricted keyway locks.

What are Restricted Keyway Locks?

Restricted keyway locks are keys that are made to prevent someone else from creating a duplicate. In contrast to a Do Not Duplicate key, restricted keyway locks are more on the expensive side and provide more security for a key owner.

Restricted keyway locks are made and controlled by one specific locksmith. For someone, either the owner or someone else, to make a copy of a restricted keyway lock, then that person would need to be on the signature card if they want to duplicate.

Now, like Do Not Duplicate keys, there are major benefits to owning a restricted keyway lock. Keep reading to learn more about the four benefits to owning a restricted keyway lock.

Benefits of Owning a Restricted Keyway Lock

Restricted keyway locks provide a far more sense of security and assurance that you are in safe hands in the prevention of your keys being duplicated. Keep reading to learn about the four different benefits of owning a restricted keyway lock.

Better Security

Restricted keyway locks provide better and more reliable security. Owning a key, such as this, prevents thieves, or anyone else less trustworthy, from trying to duplicate your key. Since the keys would be made by one specific locksmith, it will be far more difficult for someone else to gain access to certain entry points.

With each restricted keyway lock made for you specifically, there are also specific issues and system numbers that are attached to your key. Once your specific key is made your locksmith will enter the numbers on your key into a locksmith database ensuring further security of your restricted keyway.

If your key does happen to get stolen, or lost, then it is recommended that you get into contact with your locksmith and have your locks changed or your lock rekeyed.

Easier to Keep Track

However many keys your locksmith makes you come with specific numbers on the keys and added into a database. The company, or whoever administers the keys, knows how many keys were made under your name and are kept in record. These records can provide the location of the keys and whether there were any other authorizations to make new keys if it is lost or stolen.

If you lose your key or have it stolen, then you can contact your specific locksmith to have a new key made, and authorized. After they’ve done so, then there can be a recording of that key. However, if someone steals the owner's restricted keyway lock, then your locksmith will ensure that the thief in question will not have access to that specific lock(s) for security reasons.

Control of Who Has Access

Owning a restricted keyway lock offers you to have more control and access. This allows you to have more security over who has access to what lock. So, while certain people have access to only certain locks, you will have access to all of the locks.

For example, if you only want someone to have access to a specific floor of a building, then it would be within your right to give them access to that specific floor. This kind of control would be beneficial to any restricted keyway lock owner, but, more specifically, business owners to their employees.

Limited Copies

Limited copies of the restricted keyway locks can be given out at the owner's leisure. Since the person themselves would be the owner of the key, they are the only ones who are allowed to request for duplicates to be made by a specific locksmith.

To request duplicates, the owner of the original key has to complete a form. After completing this form, and turned into the locksmith company, then the locksmith will create the keys and be given a specific number. And, lastly, after the keys are cut and given the respective number, then they are entered and stored into a database.

Closing Thoughts

You have now learned about what a do not duplicate is and its benefits. You have also learned whether or not it is illegal to duplicate a Do Not Duplicate key. And, lastly, you have learned about restricted keyway locks and the benefits of purchasing them.

If you would like to learn more about locksmithing, home security, or lock picking, be sure to check out my Academy for more free guides!

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