I'm syncing from a remote that I don't have write-access to, so I can't run a dedupe operation. Is there any way to control which duplicates rclone ignores? I want it to make sure it only retrieves the newest file.
I assume you mean a goole drive remote?
There isn't currently a way to control which duplicate you get.
There was a proposal for dealing with this better.
However if you do a server side copy to another google drive, I believe the duplicates will be copies properly.
A MEGA remote served via MEGAcmd's WebDAV, actually. And a paid one at that, so what you propose doing there isn't viable.
Could you provide me with a link to the proposal so I can track it?
There is Google Drive handling of Duplicate Files and Directories · Issue #4412 · rclone/rclone · GitHub and New Options to Dedupe treatment on copy/sync/move commands · Issue #3683 · rclone/rclone · GitHub and I think there is another issue too I can't find right now.