Although they are somewhat rare, you will occasionally see a key stamped with the words “Do Not Duplicate.” The message on these keys clearly indicates that someone does not want them to be copied without the proper authorization. These keys typically belong to people looking for higher forms of security, as having a limited number of copies of a key makes it less likely that an undesirable person will gain entry. In reality, however, the non-duplicate keys with this stamp on them are a bit more complicated than they look, and many locksmiths will copy them without any qualms, depending on the situation.
The easiest and most affordable method of indicating that a key should not be copied is by adding the “Do Not Duplicate” stamp to create a DND (Do Not Duplicate) key. Adding this stamp to the key when it is being cut is not very expensive, but there is no guarantee that copies will not be made. Most professional locksmiths will not necessarily make a copy of the key, but it is possible to get around this issue by somehow damaging the key so the DND symbol does not appear, despite the questionable morals involved in doing this.
Unrestricted Vs. Restricted
While keys with a DND stamp can still technically be copied, there are keys that cannot be duplicated at all. These are restricted keys that are produced by a particular company. These are usually made using a special code machine, and you can only have copies done by the same locksmith that cut the original key. It is common for restricted keys to be protected by various U.S. patent laws, meaning that you won’t usually find a locksmith willing to risk the fine and try to make you a copy.
Checking If It Is Restricted
If you are unsure whether a non-duplicate key is restricted or not, your easiest option is to ask a locksmith. He or she will be able to tell whether it is a standard key, as restricted ones tend to be a bit more complicated. You can find some guides online to tell you whether or not your key is restricted, but asking a locksmith is your best option, as he or she will also be able to tell you whether the key can be copied and what documentation or information you would need in order to do so.
Can They Be Copied?
When it comes to non-duplicate keys, there is a gray area in terms of copying. There is technically no legal reason why an unrestricted DND key cannot be copied, and as such, whether or not a given locksmith will cut you a new key depends entirely on him or her. Some will make copies of any DND keys, some will not make any copies, and others will only make copies with the correct documentation. Restricted keys, on the other hand, typically require you to go back to the original locksmith in order to get a copy, although you may be able to find an exception with the proper documentation. The best way to find out whether your non-duplicate key can be copied is to ask a locksmith.