It is true that people who work hard and with good intentions deserve to make a living; especially those contributing to the knowledge of mankind.
The fact is, you nailed it: "the publisher that screw the authors". Every article on this site is paid for. Unfortunately, the publishers can act as middle men in this system.
Think of who is buying these articles: "The site bypasses publishers' paywalls using a collection of credentials (user IDs and passwords) belonging to educational institutions which have purchased access to the journals." - wiki
In other words - students pay the university - the university pays the publisher - the publisher pays the author.
Student, university, publisher, author.
Two middle men if you look at it like that - and institutions such as OCAD and U of T are owned by Ontario govt and so answers ultimately, to the people. So it could be possible that the money trail goes like this: tax dollars pay govt - govt pays university - university pays publisher - publisher pays author.
This is only one facet to copyright law; a reason why it's so controversial could be because countries don't have to recognize each others copyright laws.
The Fair Use act states in short that excerpts of original work may be used, as long as it does not take away from their income, and money cannot be made off of a borrowed work; in other words use for scientific purpose is allowed under certain conditions.
As an artist I learned that some previously copyrighted material, in this case it was a beloved artwork, is so well respected by the community that even after the copyright is expired, others continue to honour it.
Consider also: Inventions often come from those who need it the most.