Can You Copy a “Do Not Duplicate” Key? Answered

Can you duplicate a key that says “Do Not Duplicate”? In most cases, no law prevents you from copying a do-not-duplicate key, although there are a few exceptions. Some businesses with key copying services will refuse to duplicate do-not-duplicate keys, but other places allow it, such as KeyMe kiosks and True Value Hardware stores. Below, find out more about copying a do-not-duplicate key.

Is It Legal to Copy a “Do Not Duplicate” Key?

In general, it’s not illegal to copy a key marked “Do Not Duplicate.” However, a few states do have legal restrictions on copying keys:

  • California: It is illegal to copy any key that is both marked with “Do Not Duplicate” and also imprinted with the company name and phone number of the key’s originator. (Source: California state law)
  • Nebraska: In this state, it is illegal to copy a master key imprinted with “Do Not Duplicate.” However, any type of key other than a master key can be copied, even if it’s stamped with “Do Not Duplicate.” (Source: Nebraska state law)
  • North Dakota: No keys marked with “Do Not Duplicate” or “Do Not Copy” can be copied, unless you are the owner of the lock for which the key is made, or you are an employee making an authorized copy for an employer. (Source: North Dakota state law)

If your state does not legally prohibit copying do-not-duplicate keys, “Orders for keys stamped ‘Do Not Duplicate’ or similar wording will be handled in the same manner as any unrestricted key,” according to the technical standards policy for the Associated Locksmiths of America.

Where and How to Copy a “Do Not Duplicate” Key

If your state does not have laws regarding “Do Not Duplicate” keys, and as long as you are not trying to copy a specialized or chipped key, you have several options available for copying keys imprinted with “Do Not Duplicate”:

Locksmiths

Most locksmiths will make copies of these types of keys. You can find a locksmith near you on the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) website.

Kiosks

In some cases, you can copy a “Do Not Duplicate” key at a self-service kiosk. There are two primary providers of self-service key copying machines in the U.S.:

  • KeyMe
  • MinuteKey

KeyMe adheres to the ALOA’s policy for handling “Do Not Duplicate” keys and allows these keys to be copied using its machines, according to a its FAQ. KeyMe kiosks are located in convenience stores, grocery stores, and hardware stores across the country. Find a KeyMe kiosk near you.

However, duplicating keys marked with “Do Not Duplicate” or “Do Not Copy” violates MinuteKey’s Terms of Use policy. You cannot copy a do-not-duplicate key using MinuteKey.

Stores

There are also a few stores where you can get a copy of “Do Not Duplicate” keys:

  • True Value Hardware: All five True Value Hardware locations we contacted said they would be able to make a copy of a key marked “Do Not Duplicate,” provided they have the right key blanks to use. Find your nearest True Value Hardware.
  • Walmart: Four out of five Walmart locations we spoke with said they could make copies of “Do Not Duplicate” keys in their automotive services department. Find your nearest Walmart. (Note: Walmart stores also have MinuteKey kiosks, but as noted above, you cannot use MinuteKey to copy a do-not-duplicate key.)

Which Places Refuse to Duplicate “Do Not Duplicate” Keys?

Often, chain hardware stores will refuse to copy keys that say “Do Not Duplicate.” We contacted several different locations of the following stores in various states and found that none would copy “Do Not Duplicate” keys:

  • ACE Hardware
  • The Home Depot
  • Lowe’s

Looking for more options to copy keys? Check out our article about 20+ places to get keys made near you.