The following link is a great little article with a five minute audio piece on Google's preference for original content when ranking sites. It tells the story of an online retalier that got killed when Google recently changed its ranking criteria and what he's doing about it.
Here's a clip from the article on what happened:
Immediately, Lieberman pulled up his traffic numbers. He found that two-thirds of his customers had disappeared.
"As days went by, and I saw that dip in the graph was holding — and it was a cliff — it was really a shocking drop," he says. "My first reaction was not to panic, try to find articles related to this Panda update. What is it about?"