Independent film studio Lionsgate is working out a deal with Apple that will see its films ship with smaller copies on the DVD for iPod and iPhone users.

Lionsgate today announced it is working to provide iTunes Digital Copy files on selected DVDs and Blu-ray discs. These copies can be legitimately imported into iTunes for playback on a Mac, PC, iPod, iPhone or even an Apple TV.

The first Lionsgate DVDs to debut with iTunes Digital Copy will be the special edition DVD and Blu-ray releases of Rambo (set for US release in MNay) and The Eye (scheduled to ship "in summer").

Lionsgate and Apple will deliver numerous additional Lionsgate films on DVD with iTunes Digital Copy later this year.

"Digital Copy for iTunes is a perfect example of how packaged media and new digital technology can work hand in hand for the benefit of our consumers," said Steve Beeks, president and co-chief operating officer of Lionsgate.

"Lionsgate is constantly identifying fresh opportunities to monetize its 12,000-title filmed entertainment library in an increasingly digital world and provide product that is at the very cutting edge of consumer taste.

"Building on our longstanding partnership with Apple, Digital Copy for iTunes is yet another innovation designed to provide the consumer with added value while continuing to expand our range of home entertainment choices."

"We're excited that Lionsgate is delivering so many of their great films on DVD and Blu-ray with an iTunes Digital Copy," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "Now movie fans can easily transfer a copy of many Lionsgate films onto iTunes and bring it with them on their iPod or iPhone."

iTunes Digital Copy works like this: Once a customer buys the DVD, they simply need to insert it into their computer, enter a unique code into iTunes, and the movie is automatically copied to their iTunes library.

Customers own the iTunes Digital Copy of the movie and it has all of the same great viewing options as other iTunes Store video content. Each DVD will only transfer its iTunes Digital Copy to one iTunes library. An iTunes account is required.

Apple and Twentieth Century Fox announced their intent to produce DVDs with iTunes Digital Copy at Macworld Expo in January. Lionsgate is now joining Twentieth Century Fox in the initiative, likely to be emulated by other major studios in the coming months.