Its not really paying for it, they are just being lame IMO. They want you to donate to the project and for that they will let you have 1.7. Though I'm pretty sure donations are closed right now... Anyways, 1.7 leaks are all over I its not all its cracked up to be. I dont know why they are dragging their feet on it but they are. Emulators by definition are not held to be "free" . However its a hard battle selling something that clearly uses illegal copies. Yes, there is the loop hole "I own the game, its just a copy" and Yes there are emulators that tried to win the battles and won. Though it all comes down the a simple fact. Emulators are used to play games. These games are easy to get for free. The general public knows this and assumes emulators are wrong thus they can't sell them. Well the truth is emulators are developed to three main reasons.
1) for fun, and to prove something. ( ultra-hle, snes9x, espxe, ect... )
2) for sale. ( bleem, Magic Engine, etc... )
3) for development. ( i.e gri gri )