Key Duplication: Fact or Fiction

Unauthorized key duplication is the single-most violated security policy in today’s business. People who seek to have a key copied are usually met with little or no resistance. In almost all cases a key can be duplicated without a question being asked. The stamping of “do not duplicate” on a key has no consequences on the key cutter therefore it is not looked at as a threat. An estimated 40% of unexplained illegal entries are cause by unauthorized duplication of keys. This results in significant losses to businesses every year.

Fact or Fiction:

Keys stamped “do not duplicate” are protected by law. FICTION

Many keys are stamped “do not duplicate” as a request to their holder. There is no legal connection or consequences. FACT

Companies offering “restricted” keys mean that locksmiths or key cutters are not allowed to duplicate them. FICTION

Most companies offer “restricted” keys. However, this term refers to that company’s distribution policy on the key and has nothing to do with duplication rights. Most restricted keys are easily duplicated. FACT

Keys for all “high-security cylinders” are protected from unauthorized duplications. FICTION

Only the key blank can be protected from unauthorized manufacturing, and then only if the key blank itself is patented. Purchasers of “high-security” keys and cylinders should ask to see proof of patent on the key blank and not the cylinder that it operates. FACT

Most key cutters will ask questions about your key and will normally comply with any warning or request not to duplicate that key. FICTION

Only professional locksmiths will honor such requests if they are familiar with the manufacturer. Non-professional key cutters such as hardware stores, shops or mall vendors will usually duplicate any key if the key blank is available to them. FACT