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Who Can Copy Your Key?

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Why Do Not Duplicate Keys (DND) Offer No Copy Protection and How You can Protect Yourself!

A common solution for preventing keys from being copied is to have the words Do Not Duplicate on them. This is based on the belief that if a key says “Do Not Duplicate” it cannot be copied.

However this is simply not true. A key can still be copied if it says DND on it for two reasons:

Firstly, there is no physical deterrent. This means that nothing can physically keep a person from copying the key. Most of these key blanks are readily accessible at any hardware store, and either the key can be copied in a machine (which does not recognize the label) or by an employee who isn’t paying attention. Watch this video of one of our Account Managers Testing this!

Secondly, there is no legal deterrent. There are no laws that protect a key that is stamped “Do Not Duplicate”. There are also no patents on most standard key blanks, as they are available across the market. There is no legal ramification for acquiring a blank and coping a key that is marked DND.

This means that the only benefit that DND provides on a key is a visual deterrent. This means that if a person or a vendor is given the key, we hope they see DND on the key and decide not to copy it based on the label. However, it should be known that if someone ignored the label, there is NOTHING preventing the key from being copied.

So How Can You Protect Your Keys From Being Copied?

If you don’t want your keys to be copied by an unauthorized person or vendor, we recommend a restricted key system such as Medeco M3. A restricted key system provides all the benefits that DND does not.

Medeco M3 keys provide a physical deterrent, because the blanks are authorized to a specific locksmith who owns the keyway. This means no other locksmiths even have access to the blanks. The locksmith also only copies the key for yourself or others you have personally authorized to cut the keys, which means if a person acquires your key and goes to that locksmith to copy it, they will be refused.

Medeco M3 keys also provide a legal deterrent. They are patent restricted which means it is legally protected from being duplicated except by the authorized retailer who has the patent (the locksmith you purchased it from). As we stated before, this locksmith owns the blanks and has the sole permission to copy those keys for you.

Ask yourself, who can copy my key, and how easily could they do it? If you aren’t happy with the answer, perhaps it is time to consider upgrading the security of your locks. Protecting your people and your property is our top concern, and we hope it is yours as well. If you are interested in a quote for a Medeco M3 system or need more information, click here to set up a free quote assessment.

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