Apart from the legal and ethical side, there is a lot of money at stake. Copyright Licensing receives some $5 million a year from licensing revenue, which comes from schools and other institutions besides the universities (some also comes from overseas as CLNZ has reciprocal deals with other licensing organisations around the world). That money is distributed to writers and publishers here so that we can keep on writing and publishing. It can be a battle trying to explain the point of this to students and teachers, many of whom regard the library as like Pirate Bay for books.
There is a press release from Copyright Licensing about the case here. Quote unquote:
Many universities have been increasing their fees by the maximum allowable annually. They then also charge students to receive each individual course pack. Students will generally require several course packs in one year and fees charged per pack are significant – up to $85 in some cases. At the same time the universities are paying just $20 per student per year to use the published works that those courses are based on.