This is bullshit. When they arrive at the station and their train is not there, usually they'll ask someone working there or start to complain to someone working there, at which point they'll get informed about the facts of life.
You've obviously never been in a public facing position with an angry New Yorker who's Tom Tom is telling them to go down a road that's closed either. Why should they require their staff to put up with rude and aggressive asshats when the situation is caused by something totally out of their control? Particularly if a guy is pointing to a train schedule on his little computer. Do we honestly expect the average station worker to understand that the schedule on the little computer is someone's hobby? It's hard enough to get one of them to tell you where the public toilets are.
The problem is, a third party service is required to spread the information. In the UK, there are at least 10 different websites, where you can search, book and print anything you could possibly need (including a bus service or a taxi at the destination), and if you're on the move already, you can just send an SMS, and they'll text you back with the information you need.
Yes I know...I've been there done that. I don't know how all of those systems play together but I'd be willing to bet that they are not dependent on some well meaning guy sitting down with a copy of the schedule keying in timetables by hand. Chance are there is an official API or some other way for all the third parties to grab the data directly which cuts the risk of human error down significantly. In an ideal world MTA would come up with a way to accommodate what is obviously a public demand for the information.
Again I don't agree with what MTA's doing, but this is the only place where I think they might have a legitimate concern. It does not justify horrid abuses of copyright law however.