Google Discusses Duplicate Content
If concerns about duplicate content have got you up at night, Google wants you to return to bed and get some sleep. The search giant (re)addressed the issue this morning, and the average honest webmaster has little to worry about.
Duplicate content can exist on your site without any penalties occurring as a result, according to Sven Naumann, a member of Google’s Search Quality Team. Just "[i]nclude the preferred version of your URLs in your Sitemap file," he recommends, since "this may help raise the likelihood of us serving the version you prefer."
As for the possibility that someone else will scrape your content, it’s nothing to get an ulcer over. On the Webmaster Central Blog, Naumann continues, "When encountering such duplicate content on different sites, we look at various signals to determine which site is the original one, which usually works very well."
If a scraper should somehow manage to beat you in rankings, a quick inspection of your Sitemap file and check for accessibility may fix the situation.
More Google-approved information is available from Adam Lasnik and Vanessa Fox, but the takeaway here appears to be the company’s recommendation of a "don’t stress" attitude. Now shoot for that eight hours of rest per night ideal.