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This paper studies a joint coding/routing optimization between network lifetime and video distortion by applying information theory to wireless visual sensor networks for correlated sources. Arbitrary coding [distributed video coding and network coding (NC)] from both combinatorial optimization and information theory could make significant progress toward the performance limit and tractable. Also, multipath routing can spread energy utilization across nodes within the entire network to keep a potentially longer lifetime, and solve the wireless contention issues by the splitting traffic. The objective function not only keeps the total energy consumption of encoding power, transmission power, and reception power minimized, but ensures the information received by sink nodes to approximately reconstruct the visual field. Also, a generalized power consumption model for distributed video sources is developed, in which the coding complexity of Key frames and Wyner-Ziv frames is measured by translating specific coding behavior into energy consumption. On the basis of the distributed multiview video coding and NC-based multipath routing, the balance problem between lifetime (costs) and distortion (capacity) is modeled as an optimization formulation with a fully distributed solution. Through a primal decomposition, a two-level optimization is relaxed with Lagrangian dualization and solved by the gradient algorithm. The low-level optimization problem is further decomposed into a secondary master dual problem with four cross-layer subproblems: a rate control problem, a channel contention problem, a distortion control problem, and an energy conservation problem. The implementation of the distributed algorithm is discussed with regard to the communication overhead and dynamic network change. Simulation results validate the convergence and performance of the proposed algorithm.