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Ask Shama: How does duplicate content work?

Dear Shama,

We have two websites (one for corporate and one for recruiting) which have the exact same content. I’ve been told this is a very bad idea since search engines don’t like that, but I am not sure I get why. The content is all owned by my company. And, while I am on the subject, how does it work if someone copies our content? Do we get in trouble?