Over the past few years Google has been at war with spammy SEO practices, one of the main culprits being duplicate content.
As we all should know, content is one of the most important factors that Google takes into account when ranking your website and its pages. Not only does the content entail exactly what your page is offering but it also acts as an indicator as to whether your site is a website of value to the user or not.
Google has to make a determination based on the content your site provides vs. what the user is looking for in their search, so elaboration and relevance really matter!
As you can imagine when Google is looking across the web for sparkling content of this nature to provide to its users, duplicate/copied content becomes a problem.
A good example of this would be if a manufacturer sells a product to retailers and all the retailers use the same product description. Google will see this as low quality content or even worst, spammy.
When a user makes that all important search, Google will determine which content is original and if your content is not original a point could be scored against your site as a source of quality information and unique content will be registered.
This has to be the case or search engines would be full of websites with unoriginal content and this would discredit the creator greatly.
In conclusion, make sure you set the bar high in your industry in terms of quality content. Provide valuable information to the user about the product or service that cannot be found elsewhere.