Can I get a key cut if it has ‘Do Not Copy’ printed on it?
You might see some keys with “do not copy” or “do not duplicate” stamped into the key head. Unless the key is part of a registered master key system – the words don’t mean much. There is nothing illegal about a locksmith cutting a key which has do not copy stamped into it. If the key however is a registered design key and still patent protected, than it is illegal to duplicate unless authorised.
What does registered master key system mean?
A registered (or restricted) master key system has a registered design for a 10 year period. During this time only the locksmiths with permission to cut this key is legally permitted to. These types of keying systems are often found on business properties.
Registered key designs are patent protected and sometimes require special equipment to duplicate. This provides a high secure key and locking system. These keys are genereally unable to be ordered by just anyone that holds a key. Meaning, that when the key system has been organised only specific people within the organisation have been provided with rights to order keys.
One place you might also come across this is as a tennant or home owner in a body corporate run apartment complex. Many of these use registered key designs and key orders for duplicates or replacement keys need to be ordered through the body corporate. The locksmith cutting these keys can only accept written orders from authorised persons.
Do not copy keys
Ordinary keys with do not copy printed on them may provide the key holder with false expectations of their security. If you’re provided with a set of do not copy keys from somebody you may want to ask if they are a registered key design?
Also keep in mind, after 10 years a registered key design is no longer protected by it’s patent. At this time there is no legal reason preventing any locksmith from copying these keys for you. Even if do not copy is printed on these keys they are able to be copied with any locksmith with the correct equipment and skill.
If you are unsure if your key is a registered design or if it is out of date please contact us.