Sometimes yes and sometimes no.
If your site is quite new and you are putting the same content as kept on an age old website, you will not get any benefit of it since google will give more preference to older one and your website will be ignored.
If you are taking the content from an article directory or some place which has open source content distribution and giving the credit to that site for that particular content and optimizing your site on the basis of that content you will not be hurt.
You can be penalized only if the content provider complains about the duplication or use of open content distribution with some violation.
By the way what is the benefit of using the content which is already been picked up by search engines from a website.
Google bots are getting smarter. They could detect duplicate content in your site once they crawl your pages. If there is a need to feature or quote a content from another site, make sure you include a link where you got the content.