martinibuster - 7:10 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)
But the negative effect used to be on the copier or the copied site?
It used to negatively affect the copied site. I would notice my high traffic rankings begin to slip. A few searches revealed a lot of stolen content, even by a university professor who stole an entire article, placed it on a conference presentation PDF, then placed active links to my competitors at the bottom of the PDF as "helpful references" on the topic. Rankings were restored after taking appropriate action to have the stolen content removed. Coincidence? Absolutely not. This pattern repeated itself over the course of years. That's my personal experience.
I never discussed this in a public forum because it was a glaring hole in Google's algorithm and I didn't want to inadvertently spawn a negative SEO industry.
Google did make an announced change sometime last year and it has been fairly effective in improving Google's ability to identify the original document. Nothing's perfect but whatever they did is an improvement to the way things used to be.