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What is a "Do not duplicate" Key

Let's say you received a new key and have already started looking for a good locksmith to make several duplicates. Your decision is pretty wise and logical according to the rules of safety and prudence. However, you unexpectedly notice a mark on your only key - "Unlawful to Copy" or "Do Not Duplicate Key." You may wonder what it means. Can a key duplication be illegal, and why? What if something happens to this key? No one wants to be locked out of his house, office, or any other property. It is therefore necessary to ensure that you can quickly get spare keys made and with that, have less stress.

Sure Lock & Key gathered the information about the "do not duplicate" key to answer all the questions above. Please, read ahead this article for more.

What are restricted keys

What are restricted keys and locks? How do they differ from ordinary ones? A restricted keyway lock is a high-security system restricting access to certain areas or assets. The keys and locks are specially designed to prevent unauthorized duplication. Their main difference from ordinary ones is their shape. You've probably noticed this if you've ever dealt with this key type. They usually are designed with special features that make them difficult to copy or pick. For example, the keys may have intricate grooves or cuts that a standard machine cannot duplicate. The locks may have additional pins or tumblers that require a specific key to be inserted precisely to open.
restricted keys
This lock system is usually made and controlled by one specific locksmith and used with other security measures, such as security cameras, alarms, and access control systems. This multi-layered approach helps to provide comprehensive security for the protected areas.
restricted keys

Are "Do not duplicate" keys safer than regular keys

The "do not duplicate" key is a type of key that comes with a specified engraved no-duplicate message. The purpose of it is to ensure that only authorized individuals can access the secured area and prevent unauthorized key copying. Usually, they're made with unique and complex designs that make it difficult to duplicate them without the proper tools and expertise. Registered key designs are patent protected. Does this mean that making a spare one is impossible? To obtain a duplicate of an "unlawful to copy" key, the owner has to provide proper identification and authorization to a locksmith or key-cutting service.
do not duplicate key
Commonly these keys are used in sensitive places such as government buildings and banks. They guarantee a much higher level of security than regular ones, but they aren't absolutely invulnerable. The phrase "do not duplicate" indicates that the key should not be replicated without proper authorization, but the security level it provides depends on many other factors.
do not duplicate key

Is it illegal to duplicate a "Do not duplicate" key

At this point, you would still have to wait for the answer if copying the "do not copy" key is illegal. So, the true answer is that there is no law governing this. The message on the keys is just a request, not a regulation, so people violate this and duplicate restricted keys without proper authorization. It can happen for various reasons, such as convenience, ignorance, or benefit.
However, if someone wants to make a copy of a "do not duplicate" key, he would have to be prepared to answer a few questions for proper authorization from a locksmith about the key's original owner on the company's letterhead. Many chain stores have told employees not to copy keys with this stamp. Suppose a key marked "do not copy" is duplicated without permission. It may lead to unauthorized access to secure areas or possessions, resulting in theft, property damage, or harm to people. Moreover, without a specific law, the key owners can still act against the person who duplicates it without authorization, filing a civil lawsuit for damages.
In summary, it doesn't mean duplicating "unlawful to duplicate" keys is legal or without consequences, just because no specific law exists.

Summing up

So, we found out what "do not duplicate" keys are and what they are used for. We also determined their security level. Entrusting them to protect your property or prefer other options is up to you. We hope our article was helpful and answered all your questions. However, Sure Lock & Key will gladly assist you if you still have some. Just give us a call.

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