When asked how Google handles duplicate content, Google’s Matt Cutts stated that “…for the most part, duplicate content is not really treated as spam. It’s just treated as something that we need to cluster appropriately. And we need to make sure that it ranks correctly.”
So what does all that mean to website owners? According to Cutts, somewhere around 25% or 30% of all content on the web is duplicate content anyway.
This means that if Google made the assumption that all duplicate content was spam and took action to penalize those sites displaying duplicate content, then the result of any such changes would more than likely hurt Google’s search quality rather than help it.
This in no way means that Google wouldn’t penalize spam sites as such, it means that they are attempting to be more discerning about which version of the content gets the higher ranking.
Watch this short video to learn more. Cutts breaks it down simply and easily and he also explains it without using a lot of “tech jargon”.